Monaco preview quotes - Force India, Virgin, HRT & more 25 May 2011
Having barely had time to catch their breath after a tense Spanish round, the paddock has a little over three days to pack up and shift operations to Monte Carlo for Thursdays opening practice sessions around the punishing Monaco streets. They pose a challenge like no other on the Formula One calendar - and one that those involved relish
Adrian Sutil, Force India
2010 Qualifying - 12th, 2010 Race - 8th
Monaco is a very special place for me. Ive always liked street circuits, but I also have great memories there. Its a circuit where Ive usually gone well and 2008 was a great race for me, even though we didnt get the result we deserved. Its a special race weekend in general. Its a little bit longer because you have Friday free and you can let all the glamour soak in. But after the weekend its nice to go back home and back to reality. Monaco has no margin for error. Some of the modern circuits are too easy, but Monaco is a real old traditional place. The barriers are close but you respect the limit more and you have to build your speed up slowly through the weekend so that you dont go over the limit.
Paul Di Resta, Force India
2010 Qualifying - n/a, 2010 Race - n/a
Monaco is one of those races that every driver dreams about. Its one of the most challenging circuits of the year and one of the big races in motorsport. Monaco is also where I live these days, which means I will have two home races this year. With all the yachts in the harbour there is always a real buzz to the place and I know its going to be an exciting weekend. Obviously to go around the streets in a Formula One car, where I normally drive my road car, will feel very special. Ive raced there before in Formula Three, but that was six years ago and it will feel totally different in a Formula One car. Qualifying is normally the key in Monaco. It used to decide your race. Well have to see if its any different this year with the nature of the Pirelli tyres and the different strategies, but I think overtaking will still be very difficult. Im definitely looking forward to the challenge.
Dr Vijay Mallya, Force India chairman and team principal
Few sporting events can rival the glamour and spectacle of the Monaco Grand Prix. Its a truly unique event that sums up what Formula One is all about and a weekend that everybody enjoys. Our approach to Monaco will be similar to Barcelona as we continue to evaluate our new aero platform. Its especially challenging to introduce this without in-season testing and it will take time for us to fully understand and bring through this new philosophy. We will therefore continue to run elements of the new package this weekend so that we can have a phased-introduction over the next few races. We saw in Barcelona just how competitive Formula One is at the moment and the teams around us in the midfield are all quite evenly matched. I expect another close fight in Monaco, but we will be pushing hard to be at the head of the midfield group to try and pick up some more points.
Timo Glock, Virgin
2010 Qualifying - 20th, 2010 Race - DNF
The thrill of racing here never fades no matter how many times you drive here. I think we are in for an exciting race weekend with plenty of action. It was good to get both cars to the finish in Spain and having performed a little better than expected, so its a nice basis for heading to one of our favourite races, the Monaco Grand Prix. Monaco is a race that every driver wants to do well in, but generally its just huge fun and a great spectacle. It is also one of the busiest races as we have a lot going in with promotional activities and guests. The thrill of racing here never fades no matter how many times you drive here. I think we are in for an exciting race weekend with plenty of action.
Jerome DAmbrosio, Virgin
2010 Qualifying - n/a, 2010 Race - n/a
We have the additional interest value of using the DRS. I dont think it will significantly help overtaking here because of the nature of the circuit, but it will add to the workload whilst driving and that in itself will be quite tricky. Im really looking forward to racing in the Monaco Grand Prix for the first time. It is really something very special and though Ive raced here before in GP2, the thrill of driving an F1 car in the streets with the narrow track and very close Armco is pretty hard to beat. It will be a real test for me - you have to be very quick but you cant afford to make any mistakes. We have the additional interest value of using the DRS here. I dont think it will significantly help overtaking here because of the nature of the circuit, but it will add to the workload whilst driving and that in itself will be quite tricky.
John Booth, Virgin team principal
After five races at purpose-built race tracks its always nice to come to a street circuit, which provides a huge challenge for the drivers but which also gives the engineers an opportunity to shine in terms of perfecting the mechanical setup of the car. After five races at purpose-built race tracks its always nice to come to a street circuit, which provides a huge challenge for the drivers but which also gives the engineers an opportunity to shine in terms of perfecting the mechanical setup of the car. Whilst aero is as important as ever and will require our highest downforce settings, the engineers also have to pay a lot of attention to the ride of the car and also allow for the cambered nature of the road surface that we run on here. For the mechanics the challenge is to be as prepared as possible ready for any misfortune given the very tight and twisty nature of the circuit here, with extra assemblies on standby. This race always requires an extra level of preparation which, coming as it does just a week after the Spanish Grand Prix, makes it a tough logistical challenge. You never know what you might get caught up in at this circuit and track time for the drivers is absolutely crucial; a missed session can result in heavy penalties for them in terms of honing their car for the race. We have taken the decision to run with our previous version of the blown diffuser; as was the case in Barcelona we will run according to the technical directive from the FIA in terms of the engine settings. Whilst we are realistic in terms of the gap to the midfield at present, we will be looking to keep our noses clean and aiming for another two-car finish.
Narain Karthikeyan, HRT
2010 Qualifying - n/a, 2010 Race - n/a
Every Formula One race is special but Monaco somehow manages to surpass even that. Not just the race itself, but everything surrounding it is just fantastic. It is definitely the jewel in the F1 crown. Ill never forget the last few laps in 1992 when Senna beat Mansell. Ive only raced here once, in 2005, so I have a lot of catching up to do and street circuits are always a tough challenge. It is a circuit where history is ingrained in every single metre of track. Personally, my favourite part is the fast left handed Tabac corner leading into the swimming pool complex. As a driver, I have to ensure that I dont make any mistakes and concentrate 100 percent for the entire duration of the weekend. Once we do some running on Thursday and are able to assess all the new variables on the car, especially with the new tyres, only then will we be able to decide which kind of strategy will be the optimum for the race on Sunday.
Vitantonio Liuzzi, HRT
2010 Qualifying - 10th, 2010 Race - 9th
I love Monaco, its one of the greatest races in motorsport as you drive between the rails and really need to be fearless. Its the most glamorous race, an amazing weekend for everyone, it truly is something spectacular. Last year was my best race there when I finished 8th after having a great qualifying session. Its a date you look forward to on the calendar because its a special track, not as easy as a normal circuit, a very demanding place.
Colin Kolles, HRT team principal
The Monaco Grand Prix is the biggest race in Formula One. Hopefully we will have a better weekend than in Barcelona, even though we proved there that we have made progress. In fact we were ahead of others fighting with the Virgins but unfortunately we were unable to finish the job off. In Monaco were looking to confirm this progress. We are also hoping for some clarification regarding the diffusers, so we will wait and see how that turns out."
Rubens Barrichello, Williams
2010 Qualifying - 9th, 2010 Race - DNF
Monaco is a second home for me so I really enjoy this race weekend, especially qualifying. We need to wait and see how we can use DRS. While the FIA is conscious of that fact that it is notoriously difficult to overtake around Monaco, they want to try and make it possible without making it dangerous. I am open-minded to whatever they decide. We are keen to keep on fighting as we want to score some points as soon as possible.
Pastor Maldonado, Williams
2010 Qualifying - n/a, 2010 Race - n/a
I feel good heading to Monaco and it is definitely my favourite track and a place where Ive had great results over the last five years (including one win in World Series and two wins and two podium finishes in GP2). For me it has a magical atmosphere and to be there racing in Formula One has always been a dream of mine. I would love to score my first points of the year there. I think it will be difficult for us as we dont have much time between these two races and weve never tried the supersoft tyres before. Once we see how they perform, we can then see how we can improve our performance within the car.
Sam Michael, Williams technical director
The Spain-Monaco back-to-back presents clear logistical challenges for the operational group and engineering team. Any modifications to the cars based on information gained in Barcelona must be turned around quickly so it will be a busy week. Monaco is a low grip street circuit, requiring the softest springs and highest ride heights that we operate over the whole season. Normally reducing understeer and improving traction are the keys to a good lap time.
Heikki Kovalainen, Lotus
2010 Qualifying - 18th, 2010 Race - DNF
Straight after Barcelona we go to Monaco where we take on one of the most fascinating challenges of the season. You obviously need a good car but you dont necessarily need the peak performance that you have to have at some of the other circuits, as the demands on aero are lessened by the nature of the track. As its a temporary street circuit its very dirty at the start of the race weekend and experience plays a massive part in how well you perform whenever youre in the car. Ive always felt very comfortable in Monaco and as the performance difference between the cars is always less around here I hope we can use our experience to take the fight to the guys ahead. There has been some talk about the use of DRS there and even though its only at certain parts of the track Ill definitely be using it whenever Im on full throttle, and I think thats true for the whole grid. As we dont have KERS its important we use whatever we can to keep fighting so theres no question of not using it. Im very comfortable with DRS and I dont think itll be a distraction at all. Well just get on with it.
Jarno Trulli, Lotus
2010 Qualifying - 19th, 2010 Race - 15th
Monaco is a unique race and one that is challenging, slightly chaotic and a bit mad, for the drivers and all the teams. Everywhere you move there are people who want to come up and say hi, and thats great but after almost a week it adds to the pressure, but we all just get on with it as its the same for everyone. Im very proud to have won here and count myself so lucky that I can say Im a Monaco winner. I remember when I won it was so busy I went to the dinner with the Prince that night and that was special, but the minutes and hours straight after the race were almost more intense than the race itself! However, I dont really like looking back. Itll be great for my kids in the future to know their Dad can say he won Monaco, but for me I want to keep looking ahead. I think this year the race will be fascinating. Weve already seen how much the tyres are influencing the qualifying and race strategies, and here that could be even more true. Were on the super softs and the softs here so I dont think there will quite the same difference in lap times as there was in Spain. Obviously in Monaco aero performance is less important but I think strategy will play a critical role and we have some very good guys looking after that so I think well be ok.
Tony Fernandes, Lotus team principal
"Unfortunately I wont be in Monaco this year but I will be watching every second from Malaysia and will be supporting the whole team as much as I can from several thousand miles away! Monaco is obviously a special place for Team Lotus. The Principality has been the scene of many of the moments that makes Team Lotus such an iconic name in the sporting world and its very pleasing that in our teams 2011 guise we go back there after another positive weekend in the previous race. I was so pleased with the whole teams performance in Spain and even though we didnt record the race finish that perhaps we would have wanted to, we showed that our measured progress is bringing rewards, this time in the shape of Q2 on strategy and pace. I think that Monaco could be another race where we can use the tyres quite aggressively in qualifying and the race, use strategy to give the teams ahead another reason to look over their shoulders and keep on learning, and that is the key to our long-term success. Use all the assets at our disposal as intelligently as we can, set realistic targets and then go out and achieve them. Monaco is another chance for us to do just that and I hope it is another great weekend for the whole team."
Paul Hembery, Pirellis motorsport director
Monaco is a fantastic race that makes no sense on the one hand as its so different from everywhere else, but its still the jewel in the crown of the calendar on the other. Were very excited to see our PZero Red supersoft tyres making their debut around the twisty streets this weekend, although this type of circuit will obviously be a completely new experience as weve only tested on permanent tracks. The supersoft rubber is designed to provide outstanding performance over a short period of time but this comes at the price of durability, so all the teams will have to consider their strategies carefully. Getting it right will make the difference between winning and losing. For longer runs, the PZero Yellow has already proven itself to be a reliable and popular product so far this year, contributing to extremely close racing while providing the drivers with all the confidence they need to push to the maximum. We said from the start that we wanted to give racing back to the racers, and were hoping very much that Monaco will be a classic example of this.
Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull
2010 Qualifying - 3rd, 2010 Race - 2nd
Its remarkable to drive an F1 car around Monaco, its a completely unique track and a unique challenge for the driver. You have to push as hard as on a normal race track, but the smallest mistake can bring a big penalty. Grid position is very important and can determine your race, as traditionally overtaking in Monaco is very tricky. Managing the traffic during qualifying in Monaco is also a big challenge. As an event, its one of the highlights of the year. We did well there last year and I hope we can be very strong again.
Mark Webber, Red Bull
2010 Qualifying - 1st, 2010 Race - 1st
We know this is one of the most prestigious races of the year. There are a lot of question marks going into this years race in terms of how the tyres will be and the strategy could be the most complicated of the year. Its a track that Ive always seemed to do reasonably well at and I have some of my best memories as a racing driver there. Its clearly a demanding street circuit, which requires incredible concentration and composure for the drivers throughout the weekend, starting with Thursdays practice sessions. The dramatic coast line and cliffs make an incredible backdrop to one of the most famous tracks in the world - its clearly like no other circuit we race at.
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren
2010 Qualifying - 5th, 2010 Race - 5th
I love Monaco, its a race I remember watching when I was a kid and its a place that really showcases Formula One at its very best: racing flat-out against around the toughest and greatest circuit in the world.
After such a strong showing in Spain, Im really looking forward to Monaco this year because I think well see a different race from previous years. I think a combination of DRS, KERS Hybrid and the tyres will really make the racing come alive, and Id love to see some overtaking action and some hard racing this year.
I think the DRS zone at Monaco is only around 300 metres, so its pretty short, and not really long enough to enable us to really get enough of a launch on the car ahead. I think the aerodynamics will only really start working properly once weve reached the braking zone for Ste Devote, so I dont think well see too many DRS-assisted overtaking moves next weekend.
However, I think the tyres will probably give us the greatest scope for excitement and the best chance of passing. While I dont think the super-soft and soft compounds will be as critical around Monaco as they were at a place like Turkey, I still think the drop-off we encounter as the tyres go off should create opportunities for overtaking. And I dont think the marbles will be as bad as people fear, because they tend to occur at the exits of high-speed corners, and Monaco is generally quite a low-speed track, so I dont think well see the build-up that we saw at somewhere like Turkeys Turn Eight, for example.
Im already looking forward to it.
Jenson Button, McLaren
2010 Qualifying - 8th, 2010 Race - DNF
Monaco is the most glamorous and historic race on the calendar. Winning there [in 2009] was the fulfilment of a lifelong dream, and it remains one of my favourite grand prix victories.
Its always a strange contrast going from a circuit like Barcelona, which is fast, open and flowing, then arriving a few days later at Monaco - which is the slowest, tightest and toughest track on the calendar.
On your first lap out of the pits, the acceleration just feels incredible and the barriers feel far too close! But you build up a little more gradually than you would at any other circuit, and you quickly find your focus. Still, its an intense and slightly unbelievable feeling.
Theres been some suggestion that KERS Hybrid might not provide a useful lap-time benefit around Monaco, because you might think you couldnt really exploit it to give you a boost onto a straight. But our simulations suggest that its worth as much at Monaco as it is pretty much anywhere else, which is another positive because I think that the Mercedes-Benz unit is the best in Formula One.
Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal
Both our drivers have won the Monaco Grand Prix, and McLaren has an enviable record around the streets of the principality - weve won the race on 15 occasions which is more than any other team - and we go into next weekend aiming to make it 16!
Our Barcelona race pace, in particular our sector three times, looked very respectable indeed last weekend - and hopefully that will give us a good idea of what to expect at Monaco, because its a slow, stop-start section of the track. I think one of the strengths of the MP4-26 is its low-speed grip and traction, so I think we should be in good shape from the start of the weekend.
Additionally, I dont think the deployment of driver-operated tools like the DRS and KERS Hybrid will affect the concentration of our drivers. One of the many strengths of having two strong drivers is that they are both gifted enough to be able to deal with those added complexities within the cockpit without it affecting their performance.
Lets hope we can put on a showcase race at Formula Ones showcase event.
Michael Schumacher, Mercedes
2010 Qualifying - 7th, 2010 Race - 12th
"Monaco has always been one of my favourite races and I love driving there. The street circuit may be somewhat anachronistic when we usually care so much about safety but the race is so special on the Formula One calendar that for once, you just go for it. What I also like is that it must be great for the fans to be close to the cars and experience the power. We had a more positive weekend in Barcelona so I hope that we can carry this progress through to Monaco. It's difficult to predict how the car will perform as it is such a unique circuit so we will have to wait and see."
Nico Rosberg, Mercedes
2010 Qualifying - 6th, 2010 Race - 7th
"The Monaco Grand Prix is always a thrilling weekend for me. It's my home race and to drive in front of my family and my friends is always very special. My old school is actually right next to the paddock! I also really love driving the circuit as you have to drive very aggressively but also be so precise. The drive through the tunnel at 280 kph is always a real adventure. You are so close to the barriers that you can really feel how fast the cars actually are. This year, the race has the potential to be more exciting than ever. If KERS and the DRS do make overtaking possible, it will be great for the fans."
Ross Brawn, Mercedes team principal
"The Monaco Grand Prix presents a very special challenge and is one of those race weekends that everyone really enjoys. It's also a race track where you never know what can happen, and the experience of winning at Monaco is something very special. Over the last three race weekends, I have been pleased with how the team and drivers have performed, and we have seen a steady improvement in our consistency. We need to find more performance and more speed from the car, and will continue to work hard at this, both at the factory and in Monaco."
Norbert Haug, Vice-President, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
"Everyone in our team is looking forward to the classic race around the streets of Monte Carlo next weekend. The Monaco Grand Prix is probably the most famous and best known motorsport event worldwide, and Mercedes-Benz has fond memories of great wins there. Logistically this race is always a challenge for the team and the organisers as it takes place just seven days after the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona. But still, everyone loves the race, and we hope for a good result and better speed compared to the top of the field than we had in Barcelona."
Kamui Kobayashi, Sauber
2010 Qualifying - 16th, 2010 Race - DNF
I think Monaco is a very nice circuit and it is also very exciting to be racing there. Last year it was a very difficult race for us, but I think this year it is going to be different. We have been working a lot on our car for the slow corners, and I hope we have a good performance there. I have raced there three times before - twice in GP2 and then for the first time in Formula One last year. I think it is still going to be very hard to overtake, but maybe there will now be a chance with the rear wing system. But we never know, and it may also be risky. I think it helps if you are a driver living there, and you also get tax relief!
Sergio Perez, Sauber
2010 Qualifying - n/a, 2010 Race - n/a
I love that tight street circuit - it is one of my favourites. Last year I won the GP2 feature race there and now I cant wait to get my first Monaco Grand Prix under my belt. It will be a very special weekend for me. It is the race I was waiting for and on this circuit a driver can make a bigger difference than on others. The atmosphere is great and, of course, it is the Grand Prix every driver wants to win in his career.
James Key, Sauber technical director
It is always a great event to go to with such a unique and historical race, and it is certainly a special feeling when you go there. We will bring a few new aerodynamic and mechanical parts to the race, in the hope we can improve our car particularly for the nature of Monaco, which is high downforce and quite a big dependence on mechanical grip. We will have some parts, in some cases specifically for that race, and in others just general developments which will go on the car in Monaco.
I think the things to watch out for will obviously be the tyres. It is the first time this season we will be running the super soft tyre. We ran it in winter testing, but that was in Barcelona and Jerez, not in Monaco with a very slow speed track and possibly high track temperatures. We will have to re-learn a litte bit about how the super soft tyre is working, but certainly in winter testing it was quite a good tyre. It will be interesting to see how that lasts and how its degradation is. Then the soft tyre is the prime tyre which we are fairly familiar with, so there will be a bit of learning on that. I think from a driver point of view we know both of ours are fairly strong at Monaco. Sergio won there last year in GP2, so I am sure he is perhaps quietly confident about going back there after that performance. I think fundamentally it is going to be a different race, as it is not at all like the tracks we have been on. We will see how we go, but providing we do our homework and the new parts work we will continue to try and get top ten positions.
Nick Heidfeld, Renault
2010 Qualifying - n/a, 2010 Race - n/a
Monaco is a very different track from the Circuit de Catalunya. The circuit is not a dedicated race track which means it is used by public vehicles. It is more bumpy than a race track, but the surface is actually very smooth meaning it is very slippery. We will be using Pirellis softest tyres for this race, and this will be a key factor. It will be interesting to see how we can compete there, but in the past the car has been well-suited to the circuit and Im confident it will be the same this year. over the course of the weekend, the track surface has historically improved more than any other circuit on the F1 calendar. This time around it will be interesting to see by how much and in what way it improves because these Pirelli tyres work very differently from the Bridgestone tyres we used previously. I expect tyres will be a key factor in Monaco, as they have been at the other races too. Monaco is one of my favourite circuits and it usually a really fun race. The schedule is unique as we run on Thursday (starting a day earlier than usual) but we do not drive at all on Friday. We then return to action on Saturday - with P3 and Qualifying - and the Race on Sunday. Even though I have competed here many times, it does feel different to the other races and a little strange when you are used to the normal race schedule. But, you have to remember Monaco is its own race - it is and will always remain unique. If I had to recommend a race for spectators to go to I would tell them to go to Monaco - it is such a special event. The location is fantastic and there is such an amazing atmosphere all around us, its a really crazy race. It is not the easiest circuit for the team to work at, as its such a small location, but it is an essential part of Formula One and it is a great spectacle for everyone involved.
Vitaly Petrov, Renault
2010 Qualifying - 14th, 2010 Race - 13th
Its a different type of race, a one-off. Qualifying will be very important. I feel we can qualify for the race very strongly and near to the front - this will be the key here, of that theres no doubt. If you dont qualify well, it makes it very difficult to move up a long way because there are not too many overtaking opportunities. Its a tight circuit and opportunities are at a premium so Saturday will be an absolutely crucial day for us. Its an unusual race, different to the others because of the layout, the schedule over the weekend and how close spectators are to the action. It is a place where, as a driver, you really have to concentrate because it is a tight circuit. But, I have good memories there because I finished second there in GP2 back in 2009 so Im looking forward to coming back and trying to achieve some more success. What you also have to remember is that Monaco is a massive fixture not just in motorsport but in all sport. When people think of F1, they think of the Monaco race. For that very reason, we know this is the big one.
Eric Boullier, Renault team principal
Historically Enstone cars have been good in Monaco, and I think our car will be good there this time too. The tyre strategies will be very complicated, but it could also work well for us so we will see how we get on. The track itself is so different to anything else you will see in the sports calendar - it is twisting and turning with very few chances to pass other cars. Not only that, but the track evolves over the weekend - because of the fact it is a public road normally - so we can expect to see cars improve their performance after Thursday. As a team, we can hardly wait for the weekend. The Monaco weekend is like stopping breathing! We have a very busy weekend, with less sleep and lots of work to ensure we get the best we possibly can out of it. Im confident we will do well here. Monaco is one of the key races we have in the calendar, for historical reasons, for glamour reasons and even for sporting reasons because its a very specific track. Its a very unique race on the calendar, which makes Formula One magic.
James Allison, Renault technical director
There wont be big changes to LRGP for Monaco. We will run a higher downforce top rear wing, but the days of highly specialised bodywork kits for Monaco are a bit behind us. Monaco is less power sensitive and more downforce sensitive than other circuits. However, the profit from this is not massive and the opportunity cost of producing Monaco specific parts has to be carefully considered. In general it is a better strategy to spend your aerodynamic resources attempting to produce improvements that benefit the widest possible range of circuits. We ran the super soft during winter testing and, as you might expect, it offers grip gains over the soft tyre at the expense of increased wear and degradation rate. Monaco is less demanding on the tyres than the winter testing tracks, but I suspect it will still prove to be a stern test of the durability of the super soft. Monaco always involves a few brushes with the armco and sometimes a bit of contact with other cars. LRGP has historical information about the sort of loads put into the suspension as a result of these minor incidents and the strength required to withstand them is factored in when the suspension is designed at the start of the year.
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