MONACO GRAND PRIX PREVIEW
When: Thursday 24 to Sunday 27 May, 2012
Where: Monte Carlo, Monaco
Round: 6 of 20
Mark Gillan, Chief Operations Engineer: The 78 lap race on the demanding 3.34km long partially resurfaced Monaco circuit is unique and is undoubtedly one of the most stringent tests of the season for both driver and team alike, with little to no margin for error. On the back of Pastor's excellent win in Barcelona both drivers are eager to get back on track, aiming to bring both cars home in the points on Sunday afternoon. The team's preparations for Monaco have been somewhat hampered by last Sunday's garage fire, but the impact of the fire has been mitigated by what can only be described as a Herculean effort by the factory and our suppliers to restock both the damaged equipment and car parts. We would also like to thank the generous offers of help from the other teams, highlighting once more the excellent sportsmanship that exists in Formula One and high levels of comradery throughout the pit lane.
This is the first race this year where both the soft and super-soft tyres will be available and the latest forecast predicts a dry weekend. As always in Monaco qualifying will be critical, as will race strategy to ensure that track position is maintained, but with further upgrades coming to this event we are hopeful that we can continue to make decent progress and look forward to a good weekend.
Pastor Maldonado: Monaco is a very challenging circuit for the drivers both physically and mentality because you have to concentrate fully at all times, but I really enjoy this challenge and I have traditionally done well here in the past. I am full of confidence after my win at the last race so I go to Monaco with high hopes of getting another strong result for the team.
Bruno Senna: Monaco is one of my favourite tracks because despite being a street circuit it has a lot of flow to it and when you get dialled in you can put in some good laps. I have performed well there in the past and hopefully that trend will continue this weekend and we can get some good points.
Rémi Taffin, Head of Renault Sport F1 Track Operations: Monaco is a massive challenge to get right. In terms of man power hours it is the race that RSF1 engineers spend the most time preparing – anything from two to four days in the dyno and the design office compared to around one day for an average race such as Spain. The track has the lowest average speed of the year due to the high number of tight corners so the focus is on delivering driveability through the lower rev ranges but also getting the gear ratios right to give effective acceleration between the corners. The bumps are also a major issue for engine engineers. The drivers will run over manhole covers, kerbs, white lines and sometimes even huge bumps so the engine hits the rev limiter much more than we do at a permanent track like Sepang or Monza. To avoid this we pay particular attention to the shift light pattern and even encourage the driver to shift early.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli Motorsport Director: We are bringing the soft and the supersoft tyres: the two softest compounds in our range. The nature of the circuit means that wear is low and cars rely heavily on mechanical grip, which makes this combination well suited to Monaco. With overtaking very difficult, qualifying and race strategy play an even more significant role than usual, and the supersoft tyre – which we’re seeing for the first time this year – is sure to be an important part of that. This tyre benefits from a very quick warm-up time, which means that it gets rapidly up to temperature to ensure optimal grip.