Monaco GP: Sauber preview

The Grand Prix of Monaco is without a doubt one of the highlights of the Formula One season. During tests in Le Castellet and afterwards in Valencia the Team Sauber Petronas intensively prepared to this unique race. Willy Rampf (Technical ...

The Grand Prix of Monaco is without a doubt one of the highlights of the Formula One season. During tests in Le Castellet and afterwards in Valencia the Team Sauber Petronas intensively prepared to this unique race.

Willy Rampf (Technical Director):

"Monaco is probably the one circuit on the Formula One calendar today where the driver has the potential to make a difference to how well a team performs. Through sheer determination, commitment and application he can achieve outstanding results."

"There is no other circuit that we race on that is remotely like it. The challenge it poses, to both drivers and team, is unique. The barriers and walls are very close to the track, there are only short straights linking the tight corners and the surface has numerous bumps, so the drivers have hardly any time to relax."

"Monaco is very tough on the cars, too. We run maximum downforce there, you need good power to accelerate up the hill; and good traction and grip to accelerate out of the slow and medium-speed corners that proliferate there. You also need good stability under heavy braking, such as at Mirabeau and the chicane where the telemetry shows spikes of nearly 5g."

"This year the choice of strategy will be more complex than ever thanks to the new regulations with single qualifying and the need to start the race with the fuel load with which you qualified. Because overtaking is so difficult there you need to start as far up the grid as possible, which favours a light fuel load, but you also need to factor in the optimum distance that you want to go in the race before making your first pit stop. It's going to be a very taxing and demanding race, not just for the drivers but for the race engineers, too."

Nick Heidfeld (56 GPs, 1 point 2003):

"A driver shouldn't really have a favourite circuit, but I have to confess that Monte Carlo is mine. I have some fond memories from previous successes there, including a victory in the Formula Three race that used to support the Grand Prix."

"But it's not just that. Monaco imposes things upon a driver in a way that no other circuit does. The barriers are so close to the edge of the track, and there are so few run-off areas. That means that you have to be absolutely precise in your driving and accurate in the way that you position the car, lap after lap. Consistency is terribly important, too. It is a matter, particularly in qualifying, of trying to reach as far as possible, without stepping that inch too far that so often means the difference between glory and disaster. At other circuits you can get away with it, but not here."

"You also get a real sense of speed because everything is so close, and of course Monaco is the race that everybody knows about. When you get a strong result there, you really know you have driven a good race."

Heinz-Harald Frentzen (147 GPs, 7 points 2003):

"Monaco is one of the highlights of the year. I like the track very much, and not just because I live there, can eat at home during the race weekend and can sleep in my own bed!"

"It's one of those circuits you love, but also sometimes hate. It's such a challenging place, and there's nowhere else that you have to make so much effort at every corner. It punishes you so badly even for the smallest error, and you hit the barrier. You are always looking for the limit, and to get the lap times you are right on the edge. My greatest achievement there was to take pole in 1997. That sort of thing gives you so much satisfaction! But the best results I have had there are two fourths, and I would dearly love to be on the podium in Monaco once in my career."

-sauber-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Heinz-Harald Frentzen , Nick Heidfeld
Teams Sauber