After the rural charm of the A1-Ring, the confined streets of Monte Carlo are the next stop for the BMW WilliamsF1 Team in the 2003 FIA Formula One World Championship. The most glamorous event on the Formula One calendar is, however, also the most...
After the rural charm of the A1-Ring, the confined streets of Monte Carlo are the next stop for the BMW WilliamsF1 Team in the 2003 FIA Formula One World Championship. The most glamorous event on the Formula One calendar is, however, also the most challenging for both the cars and the drivers. The narrow track, the close proximity of the crash barriers and the absence of run off areas make Monaco a totally unforgiving circuit.
Running wide almost invariably means ending up in the crash barrier with damaged bodywork and overtaking is virtually impossible. Qualifying performance and race strategy will therefore be paramount next weekend at the Principality for the BMW WilliamsF1 Team.
"The team have been working hard this week on set up and aero improvements at Paul Ricard so hopefully we will have made some progress. I think Monaco will really suit the FW25 because of its shorter wheelbase and the Michelins should run well here. The car's aerodynamic package willl also play an important role -- we know we can still improve in that area but the team is making progress in the right direction, so I am fairly optimistic for a decent finish in Monaco."
Juan Pablo Montoya:
"Monaco is a track where if you don't start at the front, you can be more than ten seconds behind the leader after just a few laps so we need to get a good grid position in qualifying. With the new rules this season, it's going to be more challenging than ever to do that so it's going to be an interesting session for both the teams and the spectators."
"To hook up a really good lap at Monaco you need a lot of weight in the back of the car and for it to be really quick in the apex. We need to get out there, see how quick we are and what kind of pace we can develop before making any decision regarding our strategy. The car is continually improving so I'm confident we can demonstrate that and come home with some points."
Sam Michael, WilliamsF1 Chief Operations Engineer:
"After such an encouraging start to the race at Austria where Juan was looking very strong for a win we had a water system problem, initiated many laps before due to the double re- start. We have investigated the failure and conducted some tests at Ricard to ensure we don't have the problem again."
"We were also looking strong with Ralf who unfortunately slid wide at turn one on some oil a couple of laps after his pit stop and damaged the front of his car, causing a large imbalance for the last stint which caused him to go off the circuit. However, he continued and bought home some valuable points for the team."
"Even with these problems, it is encouraging to see that we are making progress with the FW25 and achieving positive results. We returned to Paul Ricard this week with Marc and Juan to continue our intensive testing programme. Both spent time on tyre testing, aerodynamic work and set up for the forthcoming Grand Prix."
"Monaco is a tight and twisty street circuit that rewards the best chassis and the best drivers, a good reason for us to be pleased last year when Montoya secured pole position. The grip level of the circuit increases dramatically over the course of the race weekend as a lot of rubber is laid down, so the engineers are looking for maximum mechanical grip."
"Historically, Monaco is a one stop race; it is virtually impossible to overtake on the narrow streets so our main focus will be finding the best strategy to getting both cars in the points."
Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director:
"In Austria, we demonstrated that we can be right up there among the front runners. On the A1-Ring we sustained our first technical failure of 2003, but that doesn't give us any cause to doubt the route we are following. The loss of cooling water wasn't due to a fault in the engine. The BMW P83 is stronger than ever and in good health."
"Sheer engine power alone won't win you anything in Monaco, of course, but good engine driveability pays off in the tight curves. The Rascasse hairpin by the harbour is the only one in the whole F1 season where engine speed drops below 5000 rpm even in first gear. Any mechanic would be only too happy to swap the glamorous ambience of Monte Carlo for better working conditions."
"But depite the infrastructure being anachronistic, it would be impossible to imagine Formula One without Monaco. The whole world will be watching this Grand Prix, and I hope we can deliver a good show."