Posted on May 28, 2013


Ferrari arrived in Monaco on the back of their strongest performance of the season in Spain, where Fernando Alonso took victory and Felipe Massa third, but they left the principality with just six points and a missed opportunity. Along with Mercedes, the Italian team were one of the favourites for the win and on Friday, the car looked very impressive. Both Alonso and Massa were able to take more kerb on the left on the entry to the Swimming Pool section which opened the corner out. In contrast, Red Bull and Mercedes were avoiding the kerb. But the team dropped More…

Posted on May 27, 2013


Sergio Perez’s style of driving was once again brought into question in the Monaco Grand Prix with the McLaren driver attempting a series of aggressive and late-braking overtaking moves, including one on Kimi Raikkonen which effectively ended his own race and damaged the Lotus driver’s title ambitions. The Mexican, 23, tried to pass Raikkonen, 33, up the inside of the Nouvelle Chicane for fifth, but both ended up cutting the corner. Later in the race, Perez tried a similar move but this time the pair collided with Perez hitting the barriers and Raikkonen suffering a puncture. Perez later retired while More…

Posted on May 27, 2013


Nico Rosberg gave Mercedes their first win of the season with victory in a chaotic Monaco Grand Prix, 30 years after his father Keke triumphed on the streets of Monte Carlo. Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel drove a sensible race to take second and increase his championship lead while his team-mate Mark Webber took his second podium of the season with third. Force India’s Adrian Sutil proved overtaking is possible in Monaco by battling to fifth and his team-mate Paul di Resta produced a strong recovery drive to rise from 17th to ninth, but who was your Driver of the Day? Nico Rosberg More…

Posted on May 28, 2012


The Monaco Grand Prix’s reputation as the most glamorous stop on the Formula 1 calendar is as long-established as the sport itself and for this year TAG Heuer, sponsor of the blue riband race and the McLaren team, pulled out all the stops in celebration of the race weekend. The centrepiece of TAG’s Monaco events was a branded yacht moored in the port, where the Swiss luxury watchmaker hosted a weekend of events for VIPs and the F1 fraternity. One of these was to announce Lotus’s Swiss-born French driver Romain Grosjean as the company’s newest brand ambassador, along with the More…

Posted on May 28, 2012


Mark Webber became the sixth winner in as many races when he triumphed in the Monaco Grand Prix on the streets of Monte Carlo. But there were strong performances from several drivers in a challenging race. So who was your driver of the day? Mark Webber Looked solid in practice but came alive in qualifying and only a small mistake on his final flying lap meant he missed out on pole with the second fastest time. However, Michael Schumacher’s penalty meant he started on pole for the second time in two years. Made a good getaway and kept Nico Rosberg More…

Posted on May 27, 2012


Mark Webber made history today becoming the sixth different winner in the first six races of the season; something that has never happened before in F1. In an extremely close finish, the Australian polesitter won by a margin of 0.6 seconds over Nico Rosberg, his fellow front row starter, with Fernando Alonso moving from 5th on the grid to 3rd at the finish. He takes sole control of the drivers’ world championship table. Sebastian Vettel who went from 9th to 4th. Improved qualifying has been a key to Webber’s improved performance this season and his pole here, while unexpected, was More…

Posted on May 26, 2012


Four time world champion Alain Prost is in Monaco this weekend, working with Renault Sport to launch a concept car aimed at reviving the sporty Alpine brand. And he gave his verdict on the debate about F1 shifting towards entertainment and unpredictability which has been raging all season. As a front running driver in his time, Prost would by instinct always be likely to prefer a dominant car package, but he said that he could see that the entertainment factor that comes with the unpredictability of F1 2012 is attractive to new audiences. But ultimately he feels, as many in More…

Posted on May 24, 2012


Jenson Button set the fastest time in the second free practice session ahead of Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix, but much of the afternoon was lost to rain showers, which also threaten the qualifying session on Saturday. Romain Grosjean was second with the two Ferraris of Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso next up. The first session in the morning had shown that the Lotus and the Ferrari look competitive this weekend, with Alonso edging out Grosjean at the top of the time sheets. Grosjean’s Lotus team mate Kimi Raikkonen spent most of the morning in the garage, changing the steering geometry More…

Posted on May 23, 2012


Formula 1 has set up its stall in Monaco this weekend for its most glamourous, if no longer most important race of the season. F1 as a business is now considered to be worth around $7 billion, ($9.1 including debt) after the latest round of transactions which have seen new investors coming into the sport with others to follow. The talk this weekend is set to be as much about shares as it is about overtakes. It has been revealed that CVC, the majority owner of F1, has sold stakes worth £1 billion to three large institutional investors, two of More…

Posted on May 17, 2012


Kamui Kobayashi has said that the new aero package Sauber put on the car in Barcelona has made it easier to drive and to get results from and he believes he can better his fifth place result from Monaco last season. The Japanese driver had another strong drive in Barcleona on Sunday with two stunning overtakes as he fought his way up from ninth on the grid to 5th at the flag. He now has 19 points from five races. “Our new aero package was working well. It is definitely a step forward,” he said. “I think we have improved More…

Posted on May 29, 2011


Sebastian Vettel won the Monaco Grand Prix after the race was red flagged and then restarted with only six laps to go. Fernando Alonso was second and Jenson Button third. It was a fascinating three way battle for the victory, with three completely different race strategies creating tremendous tension and excitement. Vettel was forced into stopping only once, managing to do almost 60 laps on a set of tyres. while Alonso took advantage of a safety car to make his second stop and jumped Button, who drove an attacking three stop strategy, but the safety car wrecked it for him. More…

Posted on May 28, 2011


Sebastian Vettel took his first pole position at Monaco and the fifth of the season ahead of Jenson Button and Mark Webber. It is Vettel’s 20th career pole in just 68 races, equalling the total of Fernando Alonso, who has done 163 races. His time was 3/10ths of a second faster than last year’s pole at Monaco, set by Vettel’s team mate, Mark Webber. Once again it came about because of a massive step up in performance from Q2 to Q3, where Vettel found 7/10ths of a second from his Red Bull car. But qualifying was dominated by the accident More…

Posted on May 28, 2011


I observed a Monaco ritual this morning when I watched Free Practice 3 down by the swimming pool section of the track. It never fails to make the hair stand up on the back of your neck as you watch the drivers go flat through the first part of the corner, pushing out towards the barriers in search of a few extra hundredths of a second. To the naked eye the Red Bulls haven’t yet stuck it all on the line yet and I still sense that Webber is more comfortable up against the barriers than Vettel, whom Anthony Davidson More…

Posted on May 25, 2011


I’ve been talking to the race strategists from some of the teams the last couple of days and this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix is shaping up to be a very close affair, particularly between Red Bull and McLaren. At the last race in Spain the McLaren was actually the faster race car at several points in the Grand Prix and the Red Bull qualifying advantage – over a second in Spain – will be far less in Monaco as they will not be able to use the DRS wing in high speed corners, as they did in Barcelona. The championship More…

Posted on May 20, 2010


The fallout from Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix continues. This morning the FIA has accepted that the way the Safety Car was handled on the last lap and the information given to teams was not clear and has said that new rules will be drafted to make sure there is no repeat. According to a statement the incident, “Showed a lack of clarity in the application of the rule prohibiting overtaking behind the Safety Car. “Adjustments to the regulations are necessary to clarify the procedure that cars must meet when the last lap is controlled by the Safety Car whilst also More…

Posted on May 19, 2010


Welcome to our look-back at the key decisions which made the Monaco Grand Prix. Monaco is normally a frustrating race for team strategists. Qualifying is so important, it sets the tone for the race and only the start and the sole pit stop give any real opportunity to gain track positions. That said, a safety car at the right moment can make a big difference and this is what happened for Fernando Alonso. For the rest, the start was decisive in the battle between Robert Kubica and Sebastian Vettel, while the timing of the pit stop led to some changes More…

Posted on May 18, 2010


Mercedes has decided not to go through with the appeal into the stewards’ decision to punish Michael Schumacher for his opportunistic pass on Fernando Alonso in the final corner of the Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday. In a statement this morning the team said it had instructed Schumacher to race in the final corner, as they believed that the track was green and therefore the race would not be finishing under the safety car. “We believed that the combination of the race control messages ‘Safety Car in this lap’ and ‘Track Clear’ and the green flags and lights shown by More…

Posted on May 18, 2010


Damon Hill has spoken to the Times today, questioning the validity of former drivers acting as a fourth steward and sitting in judgement on fellow professionals. He also revealed that he has received hate mail from Schumacher fans for his part in the decision to punish the German for his overtaking move on Fernando Alonso on the final lap. Hill insists that he acted impartially. This issue has aroused huge interest. My Sunday night post on the subject here has attracted 532 comments in 36 hours and a majority of fans seem to agree with Schumacher and his Mercedes team More…

Posted on May 17, 2010


I’ve been thinking about the Monaco race and it occurred to me that something really remarkable happened on Sunday, which no-one has commented upon. Alonso’s fightback from the pit lane to finish sixth was achieved in a car which was a box of bits on Sunday morning. Built in a hurry, without any shakedown or warm-up, it was sent out into the race and performed perfectly for two hours, getting a single set of tyres to last 77 laps. If you think about it, this is quite incredible. We take it for granted these days that the cars perform and More…

Posted on May 17, 2010


This weekend the teams faced up to the challenges of the Monaco Grand Prix circuit, one of the most famous but also most difficult circuits on the calendar.

Monaco is a unique circuit and calls for some particular details in the technical preparation of the cars, which you will not find anywhere else.

The main one is the steering lock, which needs to be 21 degrees in order to get round the Loews hairpin. Normally an F1 car has a steering lock of 17 degrees.

It is possible to run a standard steering lock and still make the turn, but engineers tell me that it is around 3/10ths of a second slower, so everybody runs the extended steering range.

The brake calipers get quite hot here so there is extra ducting to them. Some of the new teams found that they had not factored in enough cooling and struggled in the race.

The other point to make is that the cars use less fuel to cover the race distance here. Around 125 kilos instead of the 160 they use at many tracks.

And there are quite a few wrong assumptions, such as the idea that you need to run the suspension soft. In fact very stiff set ups can work very well in Monaco. Look at slow motion shots of Robert Kubica attacking the kerbs and you’ll see what I mean.


Monaco is unusual because you need very little entry stability to corners, all the braking is straight. Then you need to be able to turn without understeer. If you can manage that then traction comes because car is turned and pointing straight. Traction in a straight line has a significant effect on lap time, so a rearward weight distribution is beneficial. But there is a trade-off because this can add rear tyre wear, which is often a problem in the race, particularly on the super soft tyre as we saw last year here.

New tech on the cars
There were not many technical updates on view this weekend, more Monaco specific details looking for extra downforce and traction.


Ferrari did not use its drag reducing (F Duct) rear wing here but they did have an additional couple of winglets placed one each side of the shark fin.

This was done to increase the downforce generated at the level of the rear axle so to improve the traction on this very slow circuit. The wing angle was of course at its maximum figure both front and rear.

Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali revealed this weekend that the F Duct rear wing needs some work before its reintroduction in Turkey because, although it gave the team the fastest car through the speed traps, the team found in Spain that it took overall downforce away from the car and this is a handicap in competition with the Red Bull.

Red Bull’s technical wizardry
Red Bull had many teams scratching their heads after qualifying almost one second clear of the rest in Spain. Again in Monaco the margin of pole position was 3/10ths of a second, which is a lot. The team does not yet have a drag reducing rear wing and its Renault engine is considered not as powerful as the Mercedes. This meant that it was 20th through the speed trap on Saturday, some 9km/h down on the Ferraris. However it made up for that in its speed around the corners, thanks to its high level of downforce.

The secret of the Red Bull is the multiple little details which ensure that the bodywork of the car is optimised to work with the airflow that comes off the front wing and gives the massive diffuser the best chance to function. Red Bull were making microscopic changes to the front wings in Spain, adding a tiny gurney flay to the top element in practice to fine tune this.


The bodywork at the rear of the car is incredibly slender and low it is designed to clean up the airflow. The exhausts have been repositioned low and the technical team has introduced small slots just in front of the rear wheels, all tiny details to optimise the car. The result is a well balanced, aerodynamically efficient missile, perfectly in tune with itself.

Mercedes revert to shorter wheelbase
Mercedes reverted to the standard wheelbase on its car for Monaco, after extending it by 5cm in Barcelona. The shorter wheelbase is more suitable for the dynamic demands of the tight circuit. The longer wheelbase is designed to give the car more of a range of options on weight distribution.

Mercedes will revert to the longer wheelbase for the next Grand Prix in Turkey.

Posted on May 16, 2010


Michael Schumacher’s cheeky attempt to steal sixth place from Fernando Alonso in the Rascasse corner in today’s Monaco Grand Prix has been deemed illegal by the race stewards, of whom Schumacher’s former rival Damon Hill was a member. Meanwhile his former Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali described the move as “really dangerous.” The safety car had been deployed for the fourth time during the final laps when Jarno Trulli and Karun Chandhok collided at Rascasse corner. Schumacher’s move came on the final lap, as the safety car peeled into the pit lane to allow the cars to cross the finish line. More…

Posted on May 16, 2010


Today’s Monaco Grand Prix was full of drama but we also saw some amazing performances from several drivers, not just in the race, but over the weekend as a whole. So let’s take a look at the two main contenders: Mark Webber A dominant drive by the veteran Aussie, who is in the form of his life. For the second race in a row he took pole and controlled the race. He had four safety cars to contend with, which cut his lead down to nothing each time. He made an assured start, not giving Vettel or Kubica a chance More…

Posted on May 16, 2010


Mark Webber won the Monaco Grand Prix today ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Robert Kubica. He leads the world championship for the first time in his career. It was Red Bull’s second 1-2 finish of the season and the fourth team 1-2 we have had in six races, which must be some kind of record. If it seemed effortless for Webber, the race was nonetheless full of drama with no less than four safety cars. “It’s the greatest day of my life every F1 victory is special but to win on the streets here and join all the great winners More…

Posted on May 15, 2010


Mark Webber stunned F1 again today with his second pole position in eight days as he dominated qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix. It is the sixth pole in six races for Red Bull this season. That is championship winning form and after early season reliability issues, they need to make sure they again convert it to a win tomorrow. All predictions, including his own, were that it would be very close. In the end it wasn’t close at all. Webber was 3/10ths of a second ahead of Robert Kubica’s Renault, with Sebastian Vettel in third, 4/10ths behind Webber. But More…

Posted on May 15, 2010


Robert Kubica took the starring role in the dress rehearsal for the Monaco Grand Prix qualifying session. The Pole in the Renault was impressive on Thursday in free practice, but he was on a mission this morning, lapping the principality in 1m 14.806s, just 5/100ths ahead of Felipe Massa. Mark Webber was a whisker behind in the Red Bull with Hamilton fourth, two tenths off Kubica’s time. But if Kubica’s declaration of candidacy for the new Prince of Monaco was the feel good story of the morning, the eye catching headline was the accident of Fernando Alonso, who crashed the More…

Posted on May 13, 2010


Fernando Alonso topped the timesheets today in practice for Sunday’s Monaco Prix. The two times Monaco winner was the only driver to dip below the 1m 15s mark, setting a best time of 1m 14.904s – just a tenth of a second shy of the fastest lap in low fuel qualifying last year. Alonso was having to contend with the back end stepping out quite a bit, but he always looked fast and believes that whereas Barcelona rewarded massive downforce, Monaco is about getting the car tuned in to the circuit, “Here, having the right set up can make more More…

Posted on May 11, 2010


McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh today spoke of his concern that there would be chaos and controversy during the first part of qualifying in Monaco this weekend, due to the enlarged field and the speed differential between the fastest and slowest cars. With the three new teams this year regularly around six seconds off the pace in qualifying and 24 cars packed onto the tight streets of Monaco for the first 20 minute session, Whitmarsh predicts trouble. It is possible that one of the front runners might get blocked, miss the cut to get out of Q1 and be forced to More…

Posted on May 22, 2009


While we wait for the grands fromages to have their meetings and decide what kind of spectacle we are going to see next year and beyond in Formula 1, I thought a brief colour post might be in order. For the first time in years I’m not staying in Monaco this year. I’m in Villefranche, which is 20 minutes west by train. They have a fantastic train service here with double decker trains whizzing you along the coastline. Monaco railway station is a 10 minute walk from the paddock and the media centre. On my way in I passed a More…



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