Mercedes has captured something of the post race atmosphere at Monaco..
No need for words:
Mercedes has captured something of the post race atmosphere at Monaco..
No need for words:
More about qualifying in a ‘moment’. In the meantime good old Brembo has provided me with a little braking wisdom for the circuit. Now pay attention…
This is a historic city circuit that winds through the streets of the Principality and this can create many problems for the single-seater brakes. In fact, the winding track with poor grip often means the drivers need to control the car often using the brakes, with negative reflexes on the caliper and brake fluid temperature.
In the past this event has often been a theatre of problems connected to overheating and vapour lock of the braking system (a phenomenon in which the brake fluid reaches the boiling point inside the caliper), leading to a lengthening of the pedal in braking which has many times caused drivers to retire, if not crash.
In our day and age the progress made in cooling the brakes has held these problems at bay, although particular attention still needs to be given to managing temperatures during the race weekend. The braking sections are not particularly sudden, but the time spent on the brakes here is among the highest of the season at 26 per cent.
Oh, and by the way. Watch out for turn 10. It’s thought to be the most demanding for the braking systems.
When you think Formula One, you think Monaco. As high-powered and sophisticated as the cars that will compete in Round 6 of the FIA Formula One World Championship, so too are the people and their accoutrements which descend upon the smallest and most densely populated country in the world. Yachts line the harbour and exquisite luxury and sports cars line the roads.
You may not know but organised racing within the confines of Monaco began in 1929 when Anthony Noghes, son of a wealthy cigarette baron, proposed a grand prix through the streets of Monte Carlo. On 14 April, the inaugural Monaco Grand Prix was held and it was won by William Grover-Williams in a Bugatti. In the 74th Monaco Grand Prix that will take place on 29 May, the same basic layout crafted by Noghes will challenge today’s Formula One drivers.
And challenge is the key word, for there is no more challenging venue than Monaco. The 78-lap race around the 3.340-km (2.075-mile), 19-turn street circuit features many elevation changes and the tightest corners on the series’ 21-race calendar. It also lays claim to having the only tunnel in Formula One which forces drivers to adjust their eyes from glaring sun to shade every lap.
Monaco is the shortest circuit in Formula One and it’s home to the sport’s slowest corner – the hairpin turn six – which drivers navigate at a pedestrian 50 kph (31 mph) while in maximum steering lock. It’s why three-time Formula One champion Nelson Piquet said racing at Monaco was “like trying to cycle around your living room”.
Despite being the shortest track, Monaco is the longest Formula One race in terms of time and, if hampered by wet weather, it will certainly go to its full, two-hour time limit. As result, the glitz and glamour of Monaco is juxtaposed by the gumption it takes to navigate a street circuit that is nearly 90 years old and lined with menacing Armco barrier.
Haas F1’s Romain Grosjean describes a typical lap:
“So you start on the straight, where it’s very bumpy hitting the brakes into turn one at Sainte Devote. It’s easy to make a mistake here, but then you need to make a good exit for the run up to Casino Corner. Up the hill, blind corner, braking just after the bump, fourth gear, and then third gear for the next one. Going down then you want to avoid the bus stop, which is bumpy, then you head to turn five. There’s always a bit of front-locking, the front inside wheel is in the air. Then the hairpin is a very slow-speed corner. You turn the steering wheel with one hand.
“After that it’s the two Portier corners. The second one is important because it brings you to the tunnel which is a straight line on the track. The tunnel is flat out before you have to brake big for the chicane, where there’s another bump. Then you have Tabac which is quite a high-speed corner, followed by the swimming pool complex, also very high speed. The braking for La Rascasse is tricky, again easy to front-lock. Then there’s a tricky exit for the last corner – it’s not so easy as it’s up a small crest. When you then go down, you can get wheel-spin, and then you’re back on the start-finish straight.”
Valtteri Bottas finished 14th and Felipe Massa 15th in today’s Monaco Grand Prix. Massa made contact with another car at Turn 1 causing a front-right tyre puncture. His first lap pitstop for new tyres and a new front wing resulted in him re-joining at the back of the pack and unable to fight for any points.
Starting P16, Bottas struggled for pace and was further compromised by a late safety car. The team heads into the next race in Canada confident that the FW37 will show a marked improvement in performance and will be back challenging for points.
Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering: “It was quite a difficult weekend and we were nowhere near where we should be. At Monaco, if qualifying doesn’t go well you have partly made your bed so we knew getting points was going to be tough. It wasn’t a great race for us but we can’t dwell too much as we are out of position. We have to look at all areas to see what went wrong here with the inherent car performance and set-up. We cannot return here in 2016 and repeat this performance. We now have to focus firmly on the next three races. We have a really good package and some healthy upgrades coming soon so we look forward to coming back stronger in Canada.”
Valtteri Bottas: “This has been a tough weekend that ended in an even tougher race. We tried everything to try and get some points but with the pace we had it wasn’t possible today. We tried the two-stop strategy which never really came to us, with the safety car coming at just the wrong time. There are not too many positives from the weekend but plenty we can learn from as to why we struggled. We know we still have a good car and go to races in the next few weeks where we should be able to demonstrate our true performance.”
Felipe Massa: “Today was a very frustrating day and a race to forget for us. My race was effectively over in Turn 1, with another car pushing me over and I was left with a lot of damage to my tyre and front wing. The pitstop I had to make on Lap 1 put me right at the back of the pack and I spent the rest of the race looking out for blue flags. The car has not had its usual performance all weekend but we know that we are heading to tracks in Canada and Austria that suit our car and we should be back fighting towards the front.”
Felipe Massa qualified 14th and Valtteri Bottas 17th for the Monaco Grand Prix. Both drivers found it difficult to get the tyres up to temperature and found an overall lack of grip which hindered their ability to make it into Q3.
Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering: “It was clearly a tough qualifying session for us and we are out of our usual position. We have been pouring through the data all week to try and find ways to improve our pace here, and whilst we have made some inroads, qualifying has just come too soon for us to recover everything. Starting 14th and 17th in Monaco is never ideal because it so difficult to overtake, but we will see what we can do and the aim will be to get both cars home in the points.”
Felipe Massa: “There were no major issues during qualifying that caused us to be out of position; Monaco just isn’t a circuit that suits the characteristics of our car. We struggled throughout the day and found it hard to set the lap times we wanted. Tomorrow won’t be easy, but anything is possible due to the nature of the track. It’s not a great result as we have become used to qualifying higher, but I’m confident we can still get points and that must be our focus.”
Valtteri Bottas: “I had some traffic on my initial option run and couldn’t go at the sort of pace needed to keep the tyre temperatures correct, and on my timed lap I just lacked overall grip throughout the lap. We knew this track was not going to suit our car and we’ve been struggling to get the tyres to work throughout the weekend. Then again this is the sort of track where lots of things can happen and if we stay out of trouble and finish the race then points are still possible.”
Pastor Maldonado placed ninth and Romain Grosjean 11th in today’s qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix. Clouds rolled in over the hills ahead of the session, but the track remained dry, save for a gentle smattering of spots during the course of the top 10-deciding Q3 as Maldonado out-qualified Grosjean for the first time in 2015.
Maldonado’s time of 1min 16.946secs was just 0.015secs away from the P8 position ahead. Grosjean was due to start from P16 as he has a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change, which now becomes P15 following a penalty for Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz, with Maldonado promoted to eighth place.
Romain Grosjean, E23-04. Q: P11, 1:17.007. FP3: P10, 1:17.806
“I made a mistake on what should have been my fastest lap in Q2 and I was aiming for a much better lap time which would have put me in the top ten. Basically I locked a wheel heading into turn fifteen and went straight on which lost me about four tenths. The car is looking good for the race, even if I have it all to do with my penalty meaning I start from P15 on the grid.”
Pastor Maldonado, E23-03. Q: P9, 1:16.946. FP3: P12, 1:17.956
“That was not too bad. The car felt better from this morning as we made some beneficial changes. I think we could have done better, but we had to hold the car a while to get some track space for the final lap and that meant that everything cooled a little. P8 is a strong position to start from and I have a feeling that tomorrow will be a good race for us.”
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director:
How was qualifying for the team? “We’re reasonably happy, although we always want a bit more and it would have been good to be ahead of both of the Toro Rossos and Force Indias for the race tomorrow. Pastor did a great job to get into the top ten whilst Romain will have a tough race through qualifying in eleventh position then getting a gearbox penalty which drops him five places.”
What are the considerations for tomorrow’s race? “Ensuring clean laps, avoiding any contact with the barriers and other cars is particularly relevant here. With Pastor, it’s a case of trying to make positions whenever possible against similarly paced cars. Romain on the other hand will be around much slower cars at the start so we will look at what we can do strategically to assist him to move forwards as soon as possible.”