Monaco Grand Prix Circuit: The Jewell in the Crown of Formula 1 Racing:
While it is the circuit that all drivers and teams want to win for the prestige, they all are also pleased by the technical challenge of driving and setting up a car for this unique track, the Monaco Grand Prix circuit.
“Because you are constantly in a corner and the walls are so close, it’s a very demanding race for the drivers — not physically, but mentally,” said Robert Kubica, a driver at Renault. “Most circuits usually have a long straight where you can relax for a few seconds, but in Monaco you are constantly busy.”
Monaco has almost always been won by the best drivers, with multiple victories by drivers like Graham Hill, Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso.
“It’s a race that you grow up watching; you know the circuit — every corner — by heart before you’ve ever driven there, so it’s an extremely special place,” said Jenson Button, who called his victory here in 2009 one of the highlights of his career. “It’s a race every young driver dreams of winning.”
Monaco Grand Prix Circuit: Where the driver makes a difference
Ross Brawn, the director of the Mercedes team, said the driver makes more difference to the results in Monaco than anywhere else, but that it is also a pleasure for the engineers.
“As engineers, we love the unique demands and the extra pressure that the street circuit generates,” he said. “In addition to a car which is strong mechanically, you need good power and driveability — provided by our Mercedes-Benz engine — for the low-speed corners. Monaco requires a particular set-up.”
But it also produces processional races, because low grip from the street surface and the narrowness of the track make passing almost impossible.
“It’s crucial to qualify well because it’s so difficult to overtake,” said the Williams driver Rubens Barrichello, “so getting the car set-up correctly in practice is really important. The car needs to be well balanced and have good traction; because it’s a street circuit, you don’t get a lot of grip from the track. Mechanical rather than aero strength is key, and you really have to be on top of the car all the time. Monaco is a special track.”