Monaco GP: McLaren preview

The streets of Monte Carlo provide the picturesque setting for round six of the 2004 Formula One World Championship, the Monaco Grand Prix, which is regarded as the jewel in the crown on the Formula One calendar. David Coulthard: "For me, the...

The streets of Monte Carlo provide the picturesque setting for round six of the 2004 Formula One World Championship, the Monaco Grand Prix, which is regarded as the jewel in the crown on the Formula One calendar.

David Coulthard:

"For me, the Monaco Grand Prix is definitely one of the key features of the Formula One season, and hopefully this year it will be a little easier for everyone working in the pitlane with the new facilities. They have been under construction since mid-2002 and they look very impressive and will definitely improve the working environment. Although there are no particularly fast sections of track, and consequentially no hard braking points in comparison with say Monza, it is still a very tough circuit for the drivers."

"There are 16 corners over the shortest track on the calendar, 2.075 mile/3.340km, all of which are tight so it requires constant concentration. Despite this quantity of corners overtaking is virtually impossible. There are some chances, such as the braking zone into Mirabeau, but it's always very risky. My two victories at Monaco have been highlights of my career so far. Realistically it is unlikely I will add another Monte Carlo win to my tally this year, however hopefully we will be able to improve on performance in Spain and take some points."

Kimi Raikkonen:

"Like most of the drivers, I always enjoy the Monaco Grand Prix. There is a special atmosphere about the event, it's a totally different race than all the other tracks on the calendar, I would say it is a real driver's circuit. It is a proper street circuit and therefore is very tight. Rather than having the usual run-off areas, the Armco barriers line the edge of the track itself so any slight error is likely to mean the end of your race."

"Because it's so narrow, it's also very difficult to overtake. There are a couple of opportunities including the first corner, Ste Devote, but as with the whole track you have to be very careful through here, particularly at the start of the race. I had a close battle with Juan Pablo last year, it was a good race, and although it is unlikely we will be at the front of the pack this weekend on current form, we are aiming to be more competitive than at the Circuit de Catalunya on the narrow streets of Monte Carlo."

Martin Whitmarsh, CEO Formula One, West McLaren Mercedes:

"Since the Spanish Grand Prix we have been testing at Paul Ricard in the south of France with David, Kimi, Alex Wurz and Pedro de la Rosa. In addition to progressively working our way through the proving process of some chassis and engine modifications, we also completed our Monaco-specific preparations. These included the tyre test and brakes and cooling developments for the race."

"Both our drivers are confident on the streets of Monte Carlo, with its unique characteristics, and will be able to push the car hard given its limitations. As we have previously outlined, there will be no overnight fix, but we have a clear development plan in place with regards the current issues."

Norbert Haug, Vice president, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:

"The Monaco Grand prix is the race with the slowest average qualifying and race speeds. Less than 40 percent of a lap is run under full throttle. With the race lasting for about an hour and 45 minutes it's also the longest in terms of overall race time. It's almost impossible to overtake on this circuit, so qualifying and strategy mostly determine the results. Everyone in our team is working extremely hard to improve the reliability and competitiveness of our package, and our goal clearly is to produce a better performance at the Monaco Grand Prix than we did at Barcelona"

-mclaren-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers David Coulthard , Kimi Raikkonen , Alexander Wurz , Norbert Haug , Martin Whitmarsh
Teams Mercedes , McLaren