Monaco GP: Sauber preview

After Giancarlo Fisichella scored two points in Barcelona Sauber Petronas is now looking forward to the Grand Prix of Monaco. Willy Rampf (Technical Director): "Monaco is usually the highest downforce circuit of the season. Due to the new ...

After Giancarlo Fisichella scored two points in Barcelona Sauber Petronas is now looking forward to the Grand Prix of Monaco.

Willy Rampf (Technical Director):

"Monaco is usually the highest downforce circuit of the season. Due to the new two-element rear wing rules this year there has been a reduction in downforce so you can expect to see everyone coming up with innovative ways of exploiting the regulations to maximise it. It is vital to alleviate the problems of generating sufficient grip that often arise on street circuits. The surface in Monte Carlo is quite low grip anyway, and though there is not a lot of really high-speed work there are plenty of medium-speed where downforce really counts."

"Mechanical set-up is also very important. This means generating as much grip from the car rather than the aerodynamics. At the same time, however, there is the added disadvantage that we have to run the highest ride heights of the season in order to avoid bottoming on the uneven surface of a street course, and this also levies a penalty in terms of lost downforce. Balancing that, however, we usually run the softest tyre compounds that we will see in the year."

"Monaco also provides some very slow corners, in particular the Grand Hotel Hairpin, a left-hander that became famous under the name Loews. This is so tight that we have to customise the steering geometry specifically so that the drivers can get round it."

"Overtaking is nearly impossible here, of course, so qualifying becomes even more critical and, with the way the regulations are today, that also has a knock-on effect on your race strategy. The pit entry is not very quick, so that is another factor to take into account. It is clear, therefore, that the only overtaking will be done during the pit stops and that strategy will be of crucial importance throughout."

Giancarlo Fisichella (128 GPs, 2 points 2004):

"We've been really strong at the last race in Barcelona. The team has worked very hard and the chosen two-stop strategy paid off. Scoring two points was a valuable result for us. Now I'm quite curious how things will go for us in Monaco. I love Monaco! I was second in the Formula Three race there in 1993 and won it in 1994, and back in 1998 I was second behind Hakkinen. I was really happy with my own performance, and the car's, that day. The place has plenty of good memories for me."

"I feel very confident on the circuit. It's very challenging, because you need to get so close to the walls yet be so precise in everything you do. Ste Devote, for example, is quite difficult to get absolutely right; I've seen a lot of drivers lose a race there. If you go in just a few metres too late, you are in the wall."

"All round the lap you have to keep your concentration at the maximum, from the first lap to the last. And if other drivers make no mistakes, it's impossible to overtake anyone. Having said that, in 1994 I made a bad start and lost the lead to Jorg Muller, but managed to outbrake him at the chicane on the opening lap before he established his rhythm."

"Perhaps one of the best things about Monaco is the fact that it is a place where you can make a difference as a driver. You still need a very good car to do well there, but you can do a bit more to help make it quick."

Felipe Massa (21 GPs, 1 point 2004):

"The only race I have ever done at Monaco was the 2002 Grand Prix, and I crashed out of that very heavily in a head-on accident at Ste Devote after a rear brake problem. Despite that, I love the circuit! It is a difficult and challenging track, with the walls so close all the time. You have a much greater sense of speed as a result. You don't let them intimidate you, but you do have to be aware of them because they penalise the slightest mistake."

"It's very technical and traction is very important. You also need handling stability; the last thing you want is oversteer, especially braking hard for the chicane."

"We tested well in Fiorano in preparation for Monaco and have some more new parts for the car, so I hope we will be able to qualify well and therefore race strongly."

-sauber-

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Giancarlo Fisichella , Jorg Muller , Felipe Massa
Teams Sauber