The Monaco Grand Prix is the most glamorous race on the Formula One calendar and this weekend's 7th round of the FIA Formula One World Championship promises to be no exception. While it may be glamorous for the spectators, for the Jaguar Racing...
The Monaco Grand Prix is the most glamorous race on the Formula One calendar and this weekend's 7th round of the FIA Formula One World Championship promises to be no exception. While it may be glamorous for the spectators, for the Jaguar Racing team the reality of working at Monaco is very different indeed. Multi-storey car parks act as makeshift garages for the weekend resulting in the teams having to push the cars through the small picturesque streets to the pit lane. The nature of the street circuit makes it very hard to simulate during test sessions, resulting in it being one of the most unpredictable races in the sporting calendar.
Niki Lauda - CEO and Team Principal
"Monaco is the most difficult circuit on the calendar because of the nature of the street circuit and its surface. You're never more than a few inches from the barriers making overtaking a perilous task if not impossible. A good position in qualifying is critical and if you want to win you usually need to start the race from the front of the grid. It's a race full of surprises and the outcome is normally unforeseen."
"You do your best in qualifying and the rest you invent. Unlike most other circuits that are characterised by gravel traps and run-off areas, the Principality lets you know when you've made a mistake. The protective armco barriers are unforgiving and very rarely allow you to walk away from a shunt unpunished. Having raced twelve times at Monaco my memories remain fond. Two wins in '75 and '76 and a further two podiums in '77 and '78 ensure that it remains one of my favourite circuits".
"Monaco is fantastic. I love it both on the track and off. Thursday practice reminds you of how narrow the place really is and getting into a rhythm is what Thursday at Monaco is about. Some drivers come out on a charge but one must always be very mindful of preserving the car during Thursday's Free Practice. By Saturday qualifying you are so hyped up you no longer worry about the track width."
"Qualifying here is the key to the race and failing that, making it to the end can sometimes reap reward - something we have seen many times at Monaco, particularly when it rains, as Rubens Barrichello proved in the 1999 Stewart-Ford by qualifying tenth place and finishing in second. The race is full of action and no more so than at the top of the hill through Casino Square, making it my favourite corner. Climbing up the field here can be very tricky and you rely on the attrition of others to help you out."
"I qualified fifth last year and gave Jaguar its first ever podium in Formula One. Being on the podium alongside two Ferraris is what Jaguar is all about and while the chances of repeating it this year are much tougher, you can't help going into this weekend with slightly more optimism than other races. There are so many variables that ultimately dictate the finishing order and unless you fall off completely, you can never rule anything out at Monaco."
Pedro de la Rosa
"I go to Monaco expecting nothing. I have bad memories here due to my four consecutive crashes. The start can be the most difficult as we witnessed in 1980 when nearly half the field was eliminated at Sainte Devote. The Tabac and the Rascasse both remind me of my incidents - these corners are much tougher than they look. The circuit layout provides me with reference points as I drive round, traffic lights, houses, people and you realise your speed."
"Although it's not a fast track there are some high-speed areas, the straight up the hill towards Casino Square and the Tunnel the fastest. This combined with the slow corners of the Grand and the Chicane make the entire race demanding both physically and mentally. With all the support races that take place over the weekend, one could be forgiven for thinking that enough rubber would be laid down by the time the race starts, but it's never enough! Mechanical grip is crucial to getting around the circuit with a good lap time and while everyone arrives in Monaco chasing points, my priority is simply to finish what has to be the most tiring and unpredictable races of the season."