The Monaco Grand Prix stands alongside the Le Mans 24hrs, Rallye Monte Carlo & the Indie 500 as one of the giant occasions of motorsport, and indeed the international sporting calendar. However, despite its glamorous associations and deep vein of...
The Monaco Grand Prix stands alongside the Le Mans 24hrs, Rallye Monte Carlo & the Indie 500 as one of the giant occasions of motorsport, and indeed the international sporting calendar. However, despite its glamorous associations and deep vein of history that extends back to 1929, the race presents the competing teams with challenges in almost every aspect of their preparation for raceday.
The BMW WilliamsF1 Team is currently reaching the end of a five day test at the Valencia circuit in Spain, attended by test team drivers Marc Gené and Antonio Pizzonia, and Ralf Schumacher. While important lessons are always learnt testing, the unique character of the Monaco street circuit means that the team will be reliant on both experience and initiative to produce a qualifying performance that will allow them to sustain their challenge to Ferrari.
Juan Pablo Montoya:
"I can't say I really enjoyed my debut in Monaco last year, and overall it was a difficult weekend for me. I thought initially that it would be a lot more fun than it was, and in fact it was extremely hard work."
"Racing in Monaco is also a bit strange as the track is 150 yards from my house, and I use the 'track' all year round, in fact whenever I have to go somewhere. The circuit itself is very slow with a only couple of quick corners, and of course it's completely different from the tracks we usually race at. It's a very fancy weekend and a glamorous event, but maybe it's a bit too classy and I am not really that kind of person. Whatever happens, I hope this time around will provide the BMW WilliamsF1 Team with better memories to cherish."
"I once remember someone said that racing an F1 car around Monaco is just like flying a helicopter in your bedroom. You could not describe this race in a better way. Monaco isn't an up-to-date race anymore, but maybe it is a race that relates to the spirit of a different age - the atmosphere is impressive, even if I don't particularly like racing there."
"This circuit might not suit the WilliamsF1 BMW FW24 as much as the Ferrari F2002, but after the positive test in Valencia, I hope that we can come a bit closer to the red cars. As long as we will still have a mathematical chance for the World Championship, we won't let go of this target and this approach counts just as much for the Monaco Grand Prix."
Sam Michael, Chief Operations Engineer, WilliamsF1:
"Monaco is a tight and twisty street circuit with a lot of slow speed corners and barriers right next to the circuit. The grip level of the circuit increases dramatically over the course of the race weekend as a consequence of a lot of rubber being progressively laid down. With respect to set-up, engineers are looking for maximum mechanical grip."
"Strategy is usually the same for everybody, but plenty depends on your grid position. Michelin will provide a strong tyre for qualifying, which is even more important here because it is almost impossible to overtake during the race."
Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director:
"On the narrow streets of Monte Carlo, engine power is not the most important factor, but good tractability of the car and driveability of the engine is what counts for more. La Rascasse is the only bend of all current Grand Prix circuits in which the engine revs drop to less than 5000 rpm in first gear."
"For the spectators, the Monaco Grand Prix obviously is absolutely fascinating, but for the teams, it is the worst race of the year. There are no pits to speak of, and teams have to work almost on the street. If something goes wrong during a session, it is impossible to get hold of spare parts in time. All of this means Monaco is a tough event for the mechanics, and the people in each team responsible for logistics."