Monaco GP: Williams preview

Celebrated as the jewel in the Formula One crown, the 2005 Monaco Grand Prix gets underway in just over a week's time. The Principality, playground of the rich and famous, will play host to the sixth round of the season, a year which has seen the...

Celebrated as the jewel in the Formula One crown, the 2005 Monaco Grand Prix gets underway in just over a week's time. The Principality, playground of the rich and famous, will play host to the sixth round of the season, a year which has seen the BMW WilliamsF1 Team achieve less than their exacting standards, thus far.

Currently lying in fourth place in the Constructors' table, the team hope the FW27s will benefit from yet more aero developments and a productive test this week at Vallelunga, the Italian track which bears considerable resemblance to the narrow, twisting Mediterranean street circuit.

F1's showpiece event is one of the most challenging races on the calendar which rewards a strong qualifying performance and a good race strategy but one which equally punishes even the smallest of errors. Having won in Monte Carlo three times, the last victory claimed by Juan Pablo Montoya in 2003, the team are hoping for a more rewarding outcome at this Grand Prix.

Mark Webber:

"Nothing else really compares to Monaco, it's such a unique event for many different reasons. It's always very special to race there because Monaco is so steeped in motor racing history. The circuit has seen so many great races and has created countless racing legends. For the drivers, it's one of the greatest challenges of the season because, although it's a relatively slow circuit in terms of speed, concentration and fitness levels are very important."

"Mentally, it's a tough track to race on because the margin for error is so small and, with all that armco waiting to suck you in at the slightest mistake, there's no such thing as a small accident in Monaco. I think it's also the race that every driver wants to win as it's known as a real driver's track."

"Monaco also provides the teams with plenty of challenges as the track changes quite a lot over the course of the weekend. You need to make the car as comfortable as possible to drive because the circuit has so many undulations and bumps. However, a comfortable car isn't always a quick one, so it's crucial to find the right balance."

Nick Heidfeld:

"Monaco is definitely one of the most difficult circuits on the calendar, but despite this I like it, so I'm looking forward to racing there again. It's really quite amazing to drive through Monte Carlo so I'm pleased that this race is still on the calendar and I hope that it will stay on it for a long time. Some people say it's not particularly safe, but it's so enjoyable!"

"I've lived in Monaco for a few years and it's always nice to come back. I also have very good memories of the circuit because I've won both an F3 and F3000 race there."

Sam Michael (Technical Director, WilliamsF1):

"Over the past week we've been testing at the Vallelunga circuit, in Italy, in preparation for the Monaco Grand Prix. The team mainly concentrated on tyre testing for Michelin, but we also worked on set-ups, cooling checks and starts."

"Monaco is a tight street circuit, where the grip level increases quite considerably over the weekend. The increase is primarily due to the soft tyre compounds which lay a lot of rubber down. 2005 may see this pattern change slightly though, as the tyres now have to complete an entire race. Overtaking is virtually impossible at Monaco, so strategy will be an important factor."

"We have more aerodynamic improvements for the FW27 for Monaco. The improvements are a result of an intensive development programme at the Williams factory and are a testimony to the determination of everyone involved."

Mario Theissen (BMW Motorsport Director):

"Next to a good qualifying result, a good start is crucial in Monaco. As the level of grip varies a great deal on what are ordinarily public roads, it is difficult to find just the right amount of grip. At the test in Vallelunga, we placed a strong emphasis on our practice starts again. Good starts depend on a combination of quick driver reactions, precise clutch control and optimum acceleration governed by the traction control system."

"On Monaco's roads, engine power alone won't win you any trophies, but good engine driveability at relatively low revs definitely pays off. Since the track modifications, the Rascasse corner at the harbour is no longer as tight as it was. Last season, the Loews hairpin was the only F1 corner where engine speed dropped down to the 5,000 rpm range in first gear."

"Incidentally, in 2006 we'll be lamenting the passing of the variable intake trumpets on circuits such as this where you have to drive in unusual rev ranges. By adjusting the length of the intake manifold, we can currently achieve a fuller torque curve. This technology will be banned in the future V8 engines."

"The Monaco Grand Prix, and the subsequent race at the Nürburgring, make up the season's first back-to-back races. In all, the 2005 calendar has six sets of two consecutive Grands Prix within eight days. In the ten weeks following the Monaco GP, eight Grands Prix will be held. For the teams, and in particular for the logistics staff, that will mean working at full revs."


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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Williams