Monaco GP Jaguar preview

Despite being Formula One's bastion of tradition, the Monaco Grand Prix boasts the toughest working conditions in world motorsport. With space being so limited, most teams are forced to prepare their four cars in a multi-storey car park way above...

Despite being Formula One's bastion of tradition, the Monaco Grand Prix boasts the toughest working conditions in world motorsport. With space being so limited, most teams are forced to prepare their four cars in a multi-storey car park way above the princ ipality and push them through the narrow streets to their respective bays in the pit lane. Nonetheless, the 57th Monaco Grand Prix will provide the teams and drivers with a never-ending series of challenges and despite its inherent dangers and drawbacks, t his really is the ultimate test. The cars are never more than inches from the barriers, the corners are ridiculously tight and, when the cars thunder through the swimming pool complex, or blast out of the tunnel, they look no less impressive than their cou nterparts from an era before them.

Bobby Rahal -- Chief Executive Officer and Team Principal
"The Monaco Grand Prix has to be one of the most unpredictable races in the sporting calendar. Because of the nature of this street circuit and its surface, it's impossible to simulate at test sessions in the run to this event. We have worked very hard ind eed on improving the Jaguar R2's aerodynamic efficiency and this hardwork culminated with a new aero package that we tested last week in Valencia. The results were encouraging with both drivers reporting positive feedback. As I've said before, there's no m iracle cure to our relative lack of pace and this new aerodynamic development is a significant step in the right direction with more development in progress. Because of this new aero package, expectations are unrealistically high as we head to Monaco and i t's very hard to predict anything until the cars roll out for Thursday Free Practice. While we are fairly sure of the gains made, it's impossible to know what gains our competitors have found. Eddie has a good record here and I'm confident that we can make available the necessary equipment that our drivers need to do business with at Monaco."

Eddie Irvine
"Everything that can be said about this race has been said already, but you can't get away from the fact it's still a great challenge, racing a car from this era on a circuit from a past one. As you roll out the pit lane for the first time on Thursday morn ing, the track looks impossibly narrow, but come Sunday, it's beginning to look wider. I have always enjoyed this race, not least because, staying on the harbour gives me the shortest walk to work of the year! As overtaking is so difficult, Monaco is all a bout Saturday afternoon and qualifying, as a good grid position is more than half the battle. The race itself is a case of keeping out of trouble and avoiding the barriers. If you make it to the end, chances are you might pick up points. I am reasonably op timistic about our chances this weekend. I have a good track record here with a second, a third and last year a fourth place to my name. On top of that, I am pleased with our progress on the new aero package which we ran for the first time at last week's V alencia test: a positive step forward with more development to come. However, its real benefits won't shine through on such a slow circuit, where other parts of the performance package play a greater role."

Pedro de la Rosa
"There's simply no room for error at Monaco. The driver has to concentrate one hundred per cent of the time and one small mistake will always manifest itself in a big way around here! This street circuit provides us with a never-ending series of challenges and a seemingly endless guardrail. Combine this with the very narrow track and continuously changing camber and it's not hard to see why this race is so unpredictable. We arrive in Monaco after having spent a productive three days testing in Valencia wher e we ran the new aero package. While there are certainly improvements in the car's aerodynamic efficiency, I would prefer to reserve judgement until we've experienced it on the racetrack. Most teams will upgrade their aero packages for the next couple of r aces and it's only fair that we're judged relative to the competition as opposed to testing times alone. Contrary to what gets written by the press, team spirit is quite good and we are all working towards our goal of being more competitive. Last week's te st session certainly helped in raising team morale but it was never as bad in the first place as some media would lead you to believe. The team spirit at Jaguar Racing is as good as I've experienced anywhere else and the reward for the hard work will pay off very soon I'm sure."

What exactly are the new developments on the Jaguar R2 for Monaco?

"We've made a few aerodynamic changes which include the rear diffuser. This has meant undertaking a new crash structure to suit the new diffuser. The front wishbones have also been upgraded and this has given us some encouraging results. I hesitate to say too much at this stage because people's expectations are already too high. It should prove to be an improvement of three or fourth tenths of a second but at the same time if other people have improved one or two tenths that's not a big jump in relative ter ms -- the big gain will come gradually -- not in one go. We should improve by three-tenths or so but how much the others will improve is hard to say."

What were the drivers' comments about the new aero package during your three-day in Valencia last week?

"They both felt more downforce with it. Sometimes the conditions were a little difficult because of the wind and so forth, but they felt it was an improvement for sure. Eddie's went better than expected and we were trying some suspension modifications that also helped improve the car. This aerodynamic upgrade is not huge, but it's a significant step and unfortunately it requires us to change quite a few pieces to do with the crash test on the rear structure - it's just indicative of how difficult it is to make progress in this business. It takes time to make the bits, it takes time to do the FIA crash test and so on. We've been working on this in the Swift windtunnel in California since the beginning of March so it shows you how long it takes for modificati ons to come through. It's a good step and we need to make another couple of steps like that before we can start fighting consistently for points."

How long does it take to get this far from the original design concept?

"The aerodynamicists would have been designing the bottom bits in March and testing towards the middle of March and then manufacturing. You first have to make the patterns, then make the moulds and then make the parts. The final hurdle comes in the shape o f the crash test. We've done a couple of variations to try and get through the crash test. These are all bits that have to be manufactured and then you have to ensure a supply of production parts and spare parts. It takes a long time and unfortunately tha t's the nature of the business. It's the same on the engine side. Cosworth Racing are trying to make progress with the engine, but it takes a very long time to make a breakthrough -- especially when you consider that we are trying to optimise something tha t is already very close to optimisation."

There has been a lot of talk about the potential dangers of launch control in Monaco. What's your view on this given that some teams have got it sorted, other teams haven't, and here we are in an environment where if you don't get it right the consequences could be quite serious?

"It's like everything in racing - if you don't get it right typically the consequences are quite serious. We saw the situation in Austria where four cars were left on the grid, which is a pretty dire situation. Fortunately nothing bad happened on this occ asion, but we've seen situations in the past where without these automatic systems people still stalled. Because of the good work engineered by Cosworth Racing and Pi Electronics, we haven't had any problems with either traction control or launch control a nd to be honest, our launch control has worked far better than perhaps we had anticipated. I think they've done an extremely good job and it showed clearly in Austria where Eddie made up seven places before the first corner. I'm not a fan of either tractio n or launch control and didn't want either one of them in the first place. Having gone down that road, I can't see that we can back away from it now. Like I said, I didn't want it in the first place, but now that we've got it what are you going to do? I ca n't see a rolling start working in Monaco or anywhere else for that matter. I think rolling starts are more dangerous than standing starts. That's in my own experience of doing single seater racing and to do a rolling start for the first time is incredibl y dangerous. I don't think they can do anything but carry on as they have and I think if people have problems or anticipate they may have a problem, they will have to take responsibility and use manual starts instead."


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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Eddie Irvine , Pedro de la Rosa , Bobby Rahal
Teams Jaguar Racing