Barcelona to Monaco - a race against the clock 12 May 2010
When the 2010 race calendar was published last year, the news that the Spanish and Monaco Grands Prix were to be held on consecutive weekends caught the attention of every team manager up and down the pit lane. Back-to-back races are always a challenge, but add Monaco into the mix and the whole business becomes even more complicated.
Thats because Monaco is a bit different to every other race on the calendar. For starters, it begins a day earlier with the cars rolling out for free practice on Thursday morning. Also, space is at a premium, and shoehorning the trucks into the tight confines of the Monaco harbour means theres always a big queue on the tight and twisty road leading into the Principality.
The first challenge facing the teams was to get the cars from Barcelona to Monaco as quickly as possible, as Renaults race team coordinator, Geoff Simmonds, explains: Because time was so short between these two races, we implemented some new tactics in order to make sure we arrived in Monaco in plenty of time. We arranged a sleeper coach to leave Barcelona on Sunday night, around midnight, taking the support crew to Monaco. These guys arrived early on Monday morning, along with the trucks, and got straight down to work setting up the garage and support networks.
The rest of the Renault mechanics and engineers had a more leisurely drive to Monaco and arrived on Monday evening so that they were ready to start working on the cars on Tuesday. But, as Renault chief mechanic, Gavin Hudson, confirms, the team had its work cut out on Sunday evening to ensure the cars were ready for the midnight departure from Barcelona.
To save time on Sunday we introduced a new service procedure between these two races. Normally all the suspension parts would be stripped off the car and returned to Enstone (Renaults UK base) for inspection, but instead we serviced all the parts in situ on the car. This helped us get the cars packed away quicker and on their way to Monaco.
Another complicating factor the Renault team have to cope with is the introduction of a new motorhome to coincide with the start of the European season. Its bigger than their old version and far more complicated to assemble and pack down. To deal with this the team brought in some reinforcements from Enstone to assist the regular crew of eight, who would normally do all the heavy lifting on their own. This meant the motorhome was dismantled by daybreak on Monday and on its way to Monaco. All being well the motorhome crew will have two full days on Tuesday and Wednesday to build it back up again ready for Thursday.