Monaco GP: McLaren preview

2002 MONACO GRAND PRIX PREVIEW The picturesque streets of Monte Carlo provide the setting for round seven of the FIA Formula One World Championship, the 2002 Monaco Grand Prix. From Thursday May 23rd until Sunday May 26th, the small Principality...

2002 MONACO GRAND PRIX PREVIEW

The picturesque streets of Monte Carlo provide the setting for round seven of the FIA Formula One World Championship, the 2002 Monaco Grand Prix. From Thursday May 23rd until Sunday May 26th, the small Principality will be taken over by the Formula One fraternity for the race, which is considered to be among the most demanding for both the drivers and teams.

The Principality has hosted motor racing since 1929, with the first World Championship event taking place 21 years later in 1950, and since then the glamorous Monaco Grand Prix has established itself as a global institution. The track, which twists through the narrow streets of Monte Carlo, remains virtually identical to the original circuit used in the 1920's, sweeping past Monegasque landmarks, such as the Hotel du Paris and Casino Square, before dropping down to the scenic harbour.

The event holds particular significance for the team, as McLaren made its debut at Monte Carlo in 1966, with Bruce McLaren making history as the youngest Formula One Driver/Constructor to enter the Championship. The West McLaren Mercedes team has set the fastest lap of the race every year since 1998, with David setting the lap record, 1m19.424, in 2001.

The West McLaren Mercedes team has been testing at Le Castellet circuit in the south of France since the Austrian Grand Prix. David Coulthard, Kimi Raikkonen and Alex Wurz were in attendance at the three-day session.

DAVID COULTHARD

"The Monaco Grand Prix is a fantastic challenge and probably one of the most enjoyable events of the season, and as I live in the Principality, it is also like a home race for me. The track is packed with original features, for example the tunnel, which is the only covered section of a Formula One track. It is also the shortest and the slowest circuit in the sport, at 2.904 miles/3.370 kms in length and with an average speed of 94.914 mph/152.749 kph. We conducted a positive test in France last week, completing over 1850 miles/3000 kms, and I am now aiming to build on my points tally for the season at Monaco."

KIMI RAIKKONEN

"I am looking forward to the race at Monte Carlo, it is a special event and I hope that we can achieve a good result. Overtaking is virtually impossible, the main opportunity is probably under braking at the Nouvelle chicane, so Qualifying is particularly important. It is also a track that demands high speed precision at all times as with the armco barriers that line the circuit and the lack of run off areas, judgement is based on millimetres rather than centimetres."

MARTIN WHITMARSH, MANAGING DIRECTOR, McLAREN INTERNATIONAL

"As the only true street circuit on the calendar, the Monaco Grand Prix provides a number of unique challenges. Key characteristics include the tight nature of the course and the low speeds, which demand a maximum downforce configuration. The West McLaren Mercedes team is continuing to focus on achieving a performance enhancement, we are aware of the goals and the whole team is working hard to accomplish them."

NORBERT HAUG, VICE-PRESIDENT MERCEDES-BENZ MOTORSPORT

"The Monte Carlo street circuit is very specific and not comparable to any other track on the Grand Prix calendar. On this narrow and tricky circuit the chassis, engine and tyres have to meet special requirements. You need maximum downforce, good front end grip for exact turning into the tight corners, an engine with good torque and an efficient traction control."

-mclaren-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers David Coulthard , Alexander Wurz , Bruce McLaren
Teams Mercedes , McLaren