Round seven and Formula One exchanges the picturesque scenery of the Austrian Alps for the spectacular venue of Monte Carlo. The OrangeArrows team was hard at work testing last week where it's programme split two ways as one A23 ran at Paul Ricard...
Round seven and Formula One exchanges the picturesque scenery of the Austrian Alps for the spectacular venue of Monte Carlo. The OrangeArrows team was hard at work testing last week where it's programme split two ways as one A23 ran at Paul Ricard in the South of France for two days, while aerodynamic tests were carried out on a second car back in the UK.
One of the most colourful and the most prestigious races on the calendar, Formula One thrives in the glitz and glamour of Monte Carlo. It is no surprise that the legendary race has appeared on the schedule every year since hosting its first race in 1929 and it still remains one of the most desired Grand Prix victories in every driver's mind.
Lap Distance: 3.370 km
Race Distance: 262.860 km, 78 laps
2001 Winner: Michael Schumacher, Ferrari
The tight track winds its way through the streets of Monte Carlo and is made up of several tight chicanes linked with narrow, but sweeping, bends. Despite such confining streets and very low average speeds around the tricky circuit, the cars still manage to reach almost flat-out speeds in excess of 290kph, and drivers must keep one hundred percent concentration at all times as the unforgiving armco has claimed many casualties through the years. Teams will work hard to find the optimum set up for the cars as high downforce levels are required here in order to maximise grip around the track and, with few opportunities to overtake, a good qualifying spot is crucial.
Heinz-Harald Frentzen was very pleased with the team's test last week and is looking forward to racing at Monaco again: "Monaco is a great venue for a race and, in my opinion, is the best race on the calendar. It's my home, so I have extra opportunities to prepare myself for the race as I drive the streets most days so I really know them like the back of my hand. It's very tight with some really good hairpins making it a very enjoyable track to drive. The circuit demands your full concentration at all times and you cannot afford to make any mistakes. We tested at Paul Ricard last week to simulate some of the circumstances we will find at Monaco, grip levels etc., and we were pleased with our performance so that should give us plenty of data to help us with set-up for this weekend."
Enrique Bernoldi enjoyed an exciting race here in 2001 and hopes for a good race: "I like Monte Carlo; I had a very exciting race there last year! It's a very exhilarating track to drive, but it does not give any room at all for mistakes, which makes it a real challenge. The corners are slow, with some very tight chicanes that are really tricky as the streets are so tight. As you have to be really focused all the time, it's very demanding psychologically as well as physically, but I'm looking forward to the challenge. It's really important to get a good spot in qualifying as overtaking is almost impossible here."
Mike Coughlan, OrangeArrows Technical Director: "Austria was a shame for us as we felt we were more competitive there than we were in Spain and didn't take any reward. Our competitiveness is increasing every race, but Monaco can always throw in a few surprises! It's very important to find the right set-up there as the track is so unique. You need a high downforce balance, which must always take into account the very low levels of grip in Monaco. We tested at Paul Ricard last week to work on finding the best set-up for the car as well as running various tyre compounds from Bridgestone all in preparation for this weekend, so I think we go to Monte Carlo well-equipped. We also carried out some straight-line tests in the UK, which is crucial to see how the aerodynamic package works under various conditions. I think we have a better idea of how we measure up to some of the cars further up the tables now so we want to continue to show the progress we are making."
In hot and sunny conditions, the OrangeArrows team last week completed a two-day test on the shortened Paul Ricard circuit and was very pleased with the progress made. After two relatively trouble free days of running, the team enjoyed a productive conclusion to the test. The track, reduced in length, simulated some of the characteristics found at Monaco and allowed the team to gather valuable information in preparation for the Grand Prix. The team ran with a number of different rear suspension set-ups as well as working to optimise the car's balance, while also completing software development work and tyre tests for Bridgestone. Heinz-Harald completed well over race distance, clocking up 185 laps over the two days and posted the fastest time of the test.
Mike Coughlan, OrangeArrows Technical Director, was pleased with the team's work: "We've had a very good two days of testing here. We completed a lot of laps and the car has been very reliable, which is always pleasing. We've mainly been focusing on set up work, testing out some rear suspension set-ups to get the car's balance right, as well as tyre tests for Monaco. We were also able to carry out some software developments. All in all, I think we've had a very successful test and leave feeling quite confident for Monaco."