MONACO GRAND PRIX 1997 - PREVIEW ================================ The first Grand Prix held in the Principality was seventy seven years ago in 1925 and since then fifty...
MONACO GRAND PRIX 1997 - PREVIEW ================================ The first Grand Prix held in the Principality was seventy seven years ago in 1925 and since then fifty five races have taken place. Without doubt it is considered the most glamorous venue on the FIA World Championship calendar coinciding with the International Cannes Film Festival just a few miles away.
With Mika Hakkinen the only driver in the F1 World Championship to score points in every race so far this season, the West McLaren Mercedes team will be hoping to post a finishing position in this year's race one better than David Coulthard's second. 'Naturally I would like to win in Monoco,' said David. 'And we will be working hard on our qualifying set up in order to get us off to a good start'
Qualifying is critical at this venue as there are few overtaking opportunities thereby making it essential to gain a grid positions as close to the front as possible for the start. Monaco is also a circuit where the drivers performance is of the upmost importance, more so that any other circuit in the championship. The tight and twisty track made up of roads which normally act as the main throughfare of the town, means there is little opportunity to utilise top speeds, and necessitates good aerodynamics downforce and grip. Further more, bordered by walls and armco, there is little room for error without inflicting damage sufficient to cause the premature end to a drivers race.
There have however, been some modifications to this years circuit in a bid to improve certain areas. The track has been resurfaced from the chicane after the tunnel and along the harbour front to the Rascasses hairpin. The walls surrounding the swimming pool complex have been recessed in an attempt to gain the drivers better view of the line through the corners. These changes have resulted in increasing the length of the track by approximately 3.3 metres making a total of 3.367 kms.
Seen as the home Grand Prix of many of the Formula One drivers they enjoy the opportunity to work from home. 'It is great to have your breakfast at home,' said Mika. 'Get on a scooter and go to the paddock for your briefing. It helps you have to have a more relaxed and focused approach to the day ahead.'