The tortuous streets of Monte Carlo provide the next challenge for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes on the 2013 Formula One calendar. The Principality’s 3.3km circuit is the shortest and slowest of the season, but it’s also one of the most dema...
The tortuous streets of Monte Carlo provide the next challenge for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes on the 2013 Formula One calendar. The Principality’s 3.3km circuit is the shortest and slowest of the season, but it’s also one of the most demanding for man and machine. McLaren has won the Monaco Grand Prix 15 times - more than any other constructor.
The track layout has remained largely unchanged since its inaugural World Championship race in 1950. The inclusion of Armco barriers in 1969 made it considerably safer for competitors and spectators, but the challenge of the race is still as tough as ever. The smallest error can result in a driver’s race ending in the barrier and more than 4,000 gear-changes during the 78-lap race make technical excellence a pre-requisite.
Pirelli will bring their soft and super-soft rubber to the race. Both compounds have been used already this season (the super-soft in Australia, the soft in China), but this is the first time they have been raced together as the prime and option tyres. The low-grip nature of Monaco’s asphalt, combined with the circuit’s average speed of just 160km/h, means tyre wear shouldn’t be as big a factor as it was in the Spanish Grand Prix last time out.
Jenson Button won the race from pole position in 2009, and both he and Checo are aiming to finish in the points this year.
Fast facts: Monte Carlo Circuit
- Race distance: 78 laps (260.520km/161.887 miles)
- Start time: 14:00 (local)/12:00 (GMT)
- Circuit length: 3.340km/2.075 miles
- 2012 winner: Mark Webber (Red Bull RB8) 78 laps in 1hr46m06.557s 147.312km/h)
- 2012 pole: Mark Webber (Red Bull RB8) 1m14.381s 161.654km/h)
- Lap record: Michael Schumacher (Ferrari F2004) 1m14.439s (161.528km/h)
McLaren at the Monaco Grand Prix
- Wins: 15 (1984, 1985, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007, 2008)
- Poles: 11 (1984, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2005, 2007)
- Fastest laps: 10 (1986, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2007)
Car 5: Jenson Button
- Age: 33 (January 19 1980)
- GPs: 233
- Wins: 15
- Poles: 8
- FLs: 8
“Monaco is unlike any other racetrack in Formula One. A qualifying lap around there is an exhilarating experience for a driver: you turn into corners on the limit and you kiss every barrier at the exit. To get pole position, as I did in 2009, is hugely satisfying and you need to be inch-perfect for 78 laps in order to win the race. It’s a great challenge.
“The average speed around Monaco is the slowest of the year, but it feels very quick. The track’s quite narrow in places and there are some fast sections. The run up the hill from Ste Devote to Casino Square involves some quick changes of direction, as does the Swimming Pool, and the Tunnel is fast, loud and dark.
“Everyone at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes has been working flat-out since the Spanish Grand Prix. We’re not yet where we want to be in terms of competitiveness, but I’m confident that we can make another small step forward in Monaco. We’ll continue to chip away at the performance of the MP4-28 until it’s capable of challenging at the front; there’s no other agenda for a winning team like McLaren. The aim for Monaco is to get both cars home in the points, as we did in Barcelona.”
Car 6: Sergio Perez
- Age: 23 (January 26 1990)
- GPs: 42
- Wins: 0
- Poles: 0
- FLs: 2
“Monaco is a great challenge for the drivers. It’s the only circuit on the calendar where you have to build up your speed during practice, rather than going flat-out on lap one. You push a little bit harder with every lap, getting a bit closer to the barriers each time.
“But it’s not just the track that makes Monaco special; it’s the atmosphere as well. The grandstands are closer to the track here than anywhere else on the calendar and that gives us a very close connection to the spectators. The huge grandstand between Tabac and the Swimming Pool can get pretty noisy when it
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