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Monaco preview quotes - Marussia, Williams, Pirelli & more 22 May 2012

Timo Glock (GER) Marussia F1 Team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd5, Spanish Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, 12 May 2012 Charles Pic (FRA) Marussia F1 Team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd5, Spanish Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, 12 May 2012 John Booth (GBR) Marussia Racing Team Principal.
Formula One Testing, Day 2, Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, 22 February 2012 Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Williams.
Formula One World Championship, Rd5, Spanish Grand Prix, Preparations, Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, 10 May 2012 Bruno Senna (BRA) Williams.
Formula One World Championship, Rd5, Spanish Grand Prix, Practice, Barcelona, Spain, Friday, 11 May 2012 Mark Gillan (GBR) Williams F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 15, Japanese Grand Prix, Practice Day, Suzuka, Japan, Friday, 7 October 2011 Paul Hembery (GBR) Pirelli Motorsport Director with FanVision.
Formula One World Championship, Rd2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Sepang, Malaysia, Saturday, 24 March 2012 Pedro De La Rosa (ESP) HRT Formula One Team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Sepang, Malaysia, Saturday, 24 March 2012 Narain Karthikeyan (IND) HRT Formula One Team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd3, Chinese Grand Prix Preparations, Shanghai, China, Thursday, 12 April 2012 Paul di Resta (GBR) Force India F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd5, Spanish Grand Prix, Preparations, Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, 10 May 2012 Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Force India F1 VJM05.
Formula One World Championship, Rd5, Spanish Grand Prix, Preparations, Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, 10 May 2012 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing.
Formula One World Championship, Rd5, Spanish Grand Prix, Preparations, Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, 10 May 2012 Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing.Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing.
Formula One World Championship, Rd5, Spanish Grand Prix, Practice, Barcelona, Spain, Friday, 11 May 2012 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd5, Spanish Grand Prix, Preparations, Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, 10 May 2012 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd5, Spanish Grand Prix, Practice, Barcelona, Spain, Friday, 11 May 2012 Martin Whitmarsh (GBR) McLaren Chief Executive Officer.
Formula One World Championship, Rd2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Race, Sepang, Malaysia, Sunday, 25 March 2012 Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd5, Spanish Grand Prix, Preparations, Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, 10 May 2012 Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd5, Spanish Grand Prix, Practice, Barcelona, Spain, Friday, 11 May 2012 (L to R): Eric Boullier (FRA) Lotus F1 Team Principal.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Race, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, 18 March 2012 James Allison (GBR) Lotus F1 Technical Director.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Practice, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Friday, 16 March 2012 Kamui Kobayashi (JPN) Sauber.
Formula One World Championship, Rd5, Spanish Grand Prix, Preparations, Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, 10 May 2012 Sergio Perez (MEX) Sauber on a cycle.
Formula One World Championship, Rd5, Spanish Grand Prix, Preparations, Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, 10 May 2012 Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes AMG F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd5, Spanish Grand Prix, Preparations, Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, 10 May 2012 Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W03.Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd5, Spanish Grand Prix, Practice, Barcelona, Spain, Friday, 11 May 2012 Ross Brawn (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 Team Principal.
Formula One Testing, Day 4, Barcelona, Spain, Friday, 24 February 2012 Norbert Haug (GER) Mercedes Sporting Director.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 15, Japanese Grand Prix, Practice Day, Suzuka, Japan, Friday, 7 October 2011 Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) Caterham CT01
Formula One World Championship, Rd5, Spanish Grand Prix, Preparations, Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, 10 May 2012 Vitaly Petrov (RUS) Caterham CT01
Formula One World Championship, Rd5, Spanish Grand Prix, Preparations, Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, 10 May 2012 Mark Smith (GBR) Caterham Technical Director.
Formula One Testing, Day 4, Barcelona, Spain, Friday, 24 February 2012

The Monaco race may be one of the most glamorous and historic events on the Formula One calendar but that’s not why the drivers love it so. The real draw for them is in the challenge of the Monte Carlo circuit’s twists and turns, which rewards the brave and punishes the tiniest of mistakes. They and their teams explain why they can’t wait to get started on Thursday…

Timo Glock, Marussia
2011 Qualifying - 20th, 2011 Race - DNF

“Monaco is every time a very special weekend. It’s the first real street circuit and always a big event; a big show. It is also a possibility for smaller teams as there are so many different factors which can come into play and situations which are out of your control more than any other circuit. If we have a trouble-free lead up to the weekend, then things can go well on race day with what are normally quite a few opportunities presenting themselves. For my side I hope we will show that we have got on top of the car balance issues which have affected my car in the last two races. I love Monaco so it will be fantastic to have a good car and really attack the race weekend. I can’t wait to arrive there and get going.”

Charles Pic, Marussia
2011 Qualifying - n/a, 2011 Race - n/a

“Monaco is special and one of the races I’ve been most looking forward to in my debut season. Nothing can prepare you for a challenge like this - despite my GP2 experience here - and I can’t wait to taste it for myself when running gets underway on Thursday. The track is very unforgiving, so I hope to come away from the weekend feeling like I did a good job there. The last race came to a disappointing end for me and we need to get back to the good reliability we were enjoying, as this is one of our great strengths and will be key to maintaining our 10th place in the constructors’ championship. It looks like a busy weekend off-track also, but I intend to enjoy every moment of the experience.”

John Booth, Marussia team principal
“I think everyone is excited to see what surprises the Monaco Grand Prix will bring this weekend. We’ve had a bit of everything in the first five races, including five different winners, and Monaco always throws up something different. It is turning into quite a season for the fans and long may this continue. This race is all about the drivers because it is such a uniquely demanding track that calls for absolute precision and commitment. As such, it is down to us to give Timo and Charles a car they can be absolutely confident with and, whilst Charles has had a relatively trouble-free time with his car balance thus far, Timo’s car has been a little more troublesome in recent races. We hope we will find that we have conquered those issues when running gets underway on Thursday so they can both enjoy what is always an incredible experience for the drivers. Having said that, it is also a very enjoyable experience for the team and our partners, and we have many of those accompanying us this year. It will be great to share the occasion with them. The weather could be quite interesting; the early part of the week certainly presents rather less pleasant weather than one expects for the south of France, nor are improved conditions guaranteed for the balance of the weekend. It promises to be a very interesting race all round.”

Pastor Maldonado, Williams
2011 Qualifying - 8th, 2011 Race - 18th

“Monaco is a very challenging circuit for the drivers both physically and mentality because you have to concentrate fully at all times, but I really enjoy this challenge and I have traditionally done well here in the past. I am full of confidence after my win at the last race so I go to Monaco with high hopes of getting another strong result for the team.”

Bruno Senna, Williams
2011 Qualifying - n/a, 2011 Race - n/a

“Monaco is one of my favourite tracks because despite being a street circuit it has a lot of flow to it and when you get dialled in you can put in some good laps. I have performed well there in the past and hopefully that trend will continue this weekend and we can get some good points.”

Mark Gillan, Williams chief operations engineer
“The 78 lap race on the demanding 3.34km long partially resurfaced Monaco circuit is unique and is undoubtedly one of the most stringent tests of the season for both driver and team alike, with little to no margin for error. On the back of Pastor's excellent win in Barcelona both drivers are eager to get back on track, aiming to bring both cars home in the points on Sunday afternoon. The team's preparations for Monaco have been somewhat hampered by last Sunday's garage fire, but the impact of the fire has been mitigated by what can only be described as a Herculean effort by the factory and our suppliers to restock both the damaged equipment and car parts. We would also like to thank the generous offers of help from the other teams, highlighting once more the excellent sportsmanship that exists in Formula One and high levels of comradery throughout the pit lane.

“This is the first race this year where both the soft and super-soft tyres will be available and the latest forecast predicts a dry weekend. As always in Monaco qualifying will be critical, as will race strategy to ensure that track position is maintained, but with further upgrades coming to this event we are hopeful that we can continue to make decent progress and look forward to a good weekend.”

Remi Taffin, head of Renault Sport F1 track operations
“Monaco is a massive challenge to get right. In terms of man power hours it is the race that RSF1 engineers spend the most time preparing - anything from two to four days in the dyno and the design office compared to around one day for an average race such as Spain. The track has the lowest average speed of the year due to the high number of tight corners so the focus is on delivering driveability through the lower rev ranges but also getting the gear ratios right to give effective acceleration between the corners. The bumps are also a major issue for engine engineers. The drivers will run over manhole covers, kerbs, white lines and sometimes even huge bumps so the engine hits the rev limiter much more than we do at a permanent track like Sepang or Monza. To avoid this we pay particular attention to the shift light pattern and even encourage the driver to shift early.”

Pirelli
Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director

“Monaco is a highlight of the season and a place where our super-soft and soft tyres have provided plenty of entertainment in the past. Last year, we had three drivers on three different strategies set for a grandstand finish - before a red flag got in the way. The super-soft is the only compound that remains unaltered from last year, as it proved to be so effective on circuits like Monaco, but of course the profile has been re-designed to better suit the 2012 regulations. With the wear rate being so low in Monaco, the drivers will be able to push at their hardest from start to finish. Tyre strategy will be very important in Monaco, where on-track overtaking is more difficult than anywhere else. Having said that, the Principality has a history of often springing a surprise. With the cars so evenly matched now, even the slightest advantage or smallest mistake can have a big impact on the final outcome of a race, as we’ve seen so far this season.”

Pedro de la Rosa, HRT
2011 Qualifying - n/a, 2011 Race - n/a

"Monaco is by far the most difficult and technical circuit in the entire Championship. The only trick to this track is to do miles and not change the car's set-up too much because you can find more time in the driver than in the car. We must try to do as many laps as possible on Thursday in order to build up some confidence for qualifying because it's the most important thing in Monaco. Another major difficulty at this track is the traffic, it's vital to complete a clean lap and make the most of it. Pirelli is bringing its soft and super-soft tyres so it's even more important to do a good first lap with the super-softs as you won't have two laps with them. In the race the most important thing is to manage your strategy well and it's more than probable that there will be a safety car so luck can also come in to play. We're all really looking forward to the race because it's a less aerodynamic track than Barcelona and, therefore, we expect to be closer to the leaders than in the last Grand Prix."

Narain Karthikeyan, HRT
2011 Qualifying - 22nd, 2011 Race - 17th

"Street circuits aren't my favourite but Monaco obviously has a special place on the calendar. It's not every day that you get to race in such a beautiful setting and with such a special vibe surrounding the race. It's one of the toughest races because you're so close to the guardrails that you know you can't make one single mistake. Last year I had a decent outing despite facing many problems in qualifying and practice. Coming away from a disappointing weekend in Barcelona, I am hoping for better luck this time and to get a proper chance to work with the updates we brought in Spain and have a trouble-free weekend."

Luis Perez-Sala, HRT team principal
"Monaco is a very special Grand Prix and a circuit that, in my day, I really liked to drive at because you're always very close to the guardrails and you can't make one mistake. It's a very demanding track mechanically, where drivers need great ability and suffer physically and psychologically because you can't make any slip-ups and therefore you need to be fully focused at all times. It's a tough test for the car's reliability and even more so if it is hot. We have minor upgrades for this race which we hope will help us to close the gap to the front pack. The team is really looking forward to taking on a beautiful race as is Monaco."

Paul di Resta, Force India
2011 Qualifying - 13th, 2011 Race - 12th

“The Monaco Grand Prix is probably the highlight of the year and the race that every driver wants to win. It’s always a really busy weekend: the grandstands are packed, the yachts are in the harbour and everybody is looking for the best view. When the weather is nice it really helps make for an electric atmosphere. It’s where I live now and it’s interesting to see how much busier Monaco gets when the race comes to town. It’s really nice to go home each night, sleep in your own bed and enjoy your own space. Also, I will have a lot of family and friends around me who come down to watch the race.

“It’s a circuit that’s all about confidence and commitment, and you need to build up your speed through the weekend to extract the maximum lap time. There are some great corners, such as Casino Square where you arrive at 185 mph and brake as you turn into a blind corner. Then there’s the slowest corner of the year, the hairpin, taken in first gear using maximum steering lock. For the end of the lap through the swimming pool you really feel the downforce and you need a car that can ride the bumps and kerbs. It’s a real challenge for drivers and engineers to get the perfect car.”

Nico Hulkenberg, Force India
2011 Qualifying - n/a, 2011 Race - n/a

“I enjoy the challenge of Monaco. There’s no part of the lap where you can relax for a second – even the main straight is not really a straight. I do like street racing in general because you need to grow with the car over the sessions to find the limits. If you get it right you’re only a few centimetres from the barrier so there’s no margin for error.

“I think we have taken a good step forward with the developments we made for Spain and they will continue to help us in Monaco. We still have work to do to understand and fine-tune them along with the set-up, so that is something the team is working on. When you see how close the teams around us are it can really make a difference to find even the smallest gain.”

Dr Vijay Mallya, Force India team principal
“The Monaco Grand Prix has always been a personal favourite of mine. It’s a wonderful venue to experience Formula One and nowhere else comes close to capturing the atmosphere and glamour that surrounds the race. I would love to see us performing well this weekend and challenging for points once again. We’ve certainly made progress with the car lately, but the whole grid remains very closely matched. Just a couple of tenths can separate ten positions on the grid so nobody can afford to take anything for granted. We also know that Monaco can be an unpredictable race so anything is possible. Our focus will be on making sure we qualify well to get track position for Sunday.”

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull
2011 Qualifying - 1st, 2011 Race - 1st

“It’s something special to race in Monaco; it’s tight and there’s no room for error. It’s rough and, as it’s a street circuit, the road surface is uneven so you get shaken in the car and there is no room for mistakes. You have to push yourself and the car to the limit to be fast, you have to push as hard as on other tracks, but there’s no room. You can almost feel it when you are just missing the wall and just get through - but it’s a nice feeling. You need to be fully focused on track, it’s a special thing to win in Monaco.”

Mark Webber, Red Bull
2011 Qualifying - 3rd, 2011 Race - 4th

“Monaco is a really special track, it’s an old circuit in terms of when it was first designed and the layout hasn’t changed too much since. It’s got a bit easier from when I first joined Formula One ten years ago, but it’s still a test of man against the track and with the car. You’re racing other people, but it doesn’t always feel like it because the track is always asking you to give more. If you bite and try to give it more then you crash so it’s a very, very challenging circuit mentally. Physically it’s quite straightforward, but in the mind you need to be very disciplined and that’s the challenge around Monaco.”

Jenson Button, McLaren
2011 Qualifying - 2nd, 2011 Race - 3rd

“My win at Monaco in 2009 remains one of my favourite victories in Formula One. Monte-Carlo is a place where every driver wants to win, but achieving it is so satisfying because you know you’ve conquered one of the toughest circuits in motorsport. Winning the Monaco Grand Prix will always be really special.

“I remember last year having a fantastic car beneath me and feeling really confident that I could challenge for the win. As it happened, circumstances beyond our control worked to pull that opportunity away from us, but I go back to Monte-Carlo with a little bit of unfinished business. I’d love to win for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, the team has a great history around Monaco and I’d love to add my name to McLaren’s Monaco winners’ list.

“This year, we’ll be running Pirelli’s Supersoft compound for the first time - which should be interesting. And while our car isn’t especially suited to the tighter confines of a track like Monaco, I’m optimistic of getting on top of the balance issues that have affected me for the past two races. It’s going to be a fantastic weekend.”

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren
2011 Qualifying - 9th, 2011 Race - 6th

“Monaco is a very special circuit. It’s up there with Silverstone as the place where I most want to do well at. Even though Monaco has the slowest average speed of all the circuits we visit in a season, it always feels incredibly quick. That’s because the acceleration is so rapid and the walls so close: there really is no room for error. Apart from the run-off at Ste Devote, and the tiny escape roads at Mirabeau and the harbour chicane, there’s no room to make a mistake. But when the stakes are at their highest, I just find it more exciting.

“Still, it’s important not to lose sight of the fact that, despite pushing for the win, consistency and scoring decent points is currently the most sensible way to tackle this world championship. I’ve scored points at every race, and I’m only eight points off the lead of the championship. That’s a really encouraging statistic and it’s reassuring to see my approach is paying off. Nevertheless, I’m coming off the back of two relatively disappointing results and there would be no better place for the cards to fall in my favour than at Monaco.”

Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal
“I’m incredibly proud of the team’s record at Monte-Carlo. We’ve won the Monaco Grand Prix more than any other team, and it’s a race we all regard as incredibly special, and integral to the sporting image of Formula One. This is a unique event in so many ways - it places unique demands on the driver, the car and the team. Accordingly, winning in Monaco is considered a more significant victory than a win at other circuits.

“Both our drivers will arrive in the paddock feeling particularly determined this year: Jenson, because he will be determined to set the record straight after losing a victory in 2011 that many felt he rightfully deserved; Lewis, simply because he has been driving brilliantly all season and a victory at his favourite circuit would be just reward for all his speed and commitment.

“For the entire Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team, too, we travel to the south of France feeling determined to string together a faultless weekend and to demonstrate our full potential. I have absolutely no doubts that the team is feeling very strong, and a win at Monaco would be the perfect fillip for their efforts.”

Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus
2011 Qualifying - n/a, 2011 Race - n/a

“Monaco is a little bit different and it’s hard to say how it will go there. It’s useless to put races in different categories, because all of them are as important to me. However, as a special race there is nothing like Monaco. There is no better feeling than to get things going well in there. To race in the streets of Monte Carlo is really different from everywhere else; a challenge I look forward to every year. It is very, very difficult, almost impossible, to have a clean weekend there.

“I’ve only managed to get it right once before, you really do get the greatest feeling by winning it. My win in 2005 ranks up there with my most memorable. So to win it again would be just as special. It’s such a twisty and narrow track. You have to be extra sharp and focussed in every single metre you go fast there. It gives such a good feeling a fast lap in Monaco. Overtaking has been almost impossible there in the past so to really enjoy racing there you have to be at the front.

“Monaco is always special. It’s an interesting place to go to, with a lot of fans and a lot of parties going on - or so I’m told. It’s a completely different atmosphere from anywhere else.

“We have to focus on qualifying. It’s a difficult place to race as it’s so narrow and passing is nearly impossible. I was stuck behind Rubens [Barrichello] in 2009 and we had KERS then, but you just couldn’t get past. We’ll have to see how the tyres perform and if there are any good strategies to be made, but the most important thing is qualifying well. It’s difficult to know how good the car will be in Monaco as you can’t simulate its characteristics, certainly not at any of the circuits we’ve visited so far this year. We can say the E20 has been fast everywhere else so let’s hope it’s also fast at Monaco.”

Romain Grosjean, Lotus
2011 Qualifying - n/a, 2011 Race - n/a

“I think Monaco is going to be a fantastic event and it is a special race for me for sure. There are certain to be a lot of French fans, and I’m looking forward to their support. It’s also a very special event in its own right, and the atmosphere is quite crazy! As a driver you have to stay calm and relaxed and try to do your job. It’s a track that doesn’t allow any mistakes. You have to respect it and that is the key there I think. Hopefully we can have another good result.

“I think Monaco is a specialist track and it’s very difficult to say if a car will suit there or not. It’s bumpy on the straights and it’s a very low-grip track surface. All these things mean that you never know what to expect. On a more normal racetrack you know more what you are going to have. I hope we will have a pleasant surprise and that the car will suit Monaco’s unique challenges. That would be nice.”

Eric Boullier, Lotus team principal
“We are celebrating our 500th Grand Prix in Monaco so what a story [winning] would be! Monaco is a unique event and it really is the jewel in the Formula One crown. Historically Enstone teams have shown good pace in Monaco, but last year’s car wasn’t strong in slow-speed corners so we may have some work to do. In terms of the team and our drivers, we’re all ready for a win. We’re looking at every aspect of the car and how we run it and we’re all focused tremendously on achieving our goals. A win would be a fabulous thing.”

James Allison, Lotus technical director
“We’ve got a bigger rear wing as you need more downforce at Monaco than you need anywhere else. If you look closer, or if you are a very keen fan of bodywork changes then you’ll see that the area around the side pods and the rear drums will be different too. We have to make modifications to the suspension to enable the necessary lock to get around Loews Hairpin and Rascasse. We have also made some changes, for Kimi in particular, to make the steering a little more reactive for Monaco.

“Perhaps if we look back, of the five races we’ve done so far, the race where we were least impressive was China and that’s a track with relatively few sweeping corners and lots of lower-speed traction events. So there is a train of thought that Monaco might not play to the strengths of our car.
However there are other things about Monaco that are different entirely, which are much harder to gauge. For starters the corners are so slow that the strength we’ve seen in very fast corners compared with moderate corners is not really any sort of form guide for competitiveness around Monaco’s twists and turns.

“Secondly, driver skill plays a relatively bigger part at Monaco than at most tracks, and we are fortunate to have a pair of decent peddlers. Finally, a large part of Monaco is confidence from the driver. Confidence that they can lean on the car and know that it’s not going to misbehave. So far, the E20 has proved to be a very predictable, straightforward car to drive - a quality it shares with the R30. So hopefully they will be able to lean on it to good effect. We’ll have to see.”

Kamui Kobayashi, Sauber
2011 Qualifying - 12th, 2011 Race - 5th

“I have good memories of Monaco. I finished fifth there last year, which was really great. Monaco is a very special track for the drivers. Our car seems to be strong on most of the tracks. Now it will be interesting to see how competitive it will be on a street circuit, but I’m quite confident it will be strong there as well. In Monaco a lot of things can happen, therefore it’s important to stay out of trouble and make it to the end. If we do that then I’m sure we will be able to fight for points.”

Sergio Perez, Sauber
2011 Qualifying - n/a, 2011 Race - n/a

“This Grand Prix is the most special one for me. I have been waiting to race in the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix all my life and, of course, after what happened last year I am looking forward to it even more. I strongly believe on this track the driver can make more of a difference than on any other track. As a team we are in good shape and I want to keep that momentum for Monaco. I also think our car can perform quite well on that unique city circuit. Of course I also think back to the accident I had in Q3 last year. To me it is like a watershed event in my career. There is a time before and a time after the accident. I learnt a lot from what I had to go through and I think it made me stronger. I really want to show what I can do in Monte Carlo.”

Matt Morris, Sauber chief designer
“The Monaco track is probably the one where the driver has the most influence on the overall performance. Last year both our drivers were competitive – Sergio until his accident in Q3, and Kamui finished a strong fifth in the race. The main challenge for setting up the car will be to optimise the mechanical grip. I’m confident we will be able to handle this. The development package that we ran for the first time in Barcelona will also be used again in Monaco, so we will be able to carry over its performance gain. Pirelli will provide us with the soft and the super soft tyres. This is actually the first time this year that we will be using the super soft compound during a race weekend. We tested it briefly during winter testing in Barcelona, which is a track that’s not exactly suited to this tyre, but I don’t see us having any problems in managing this tyre compound. The track has been resurfaced in some areas, for example in the braking zone after the tunnel, so we have got rid of the bump there. That’s something the drivers have to get used to, but, if anything, it should be easier. One of the design considerations of the C31 was to improve it over the kerbs, so we should be stronger at kerbing compared to last year. We have been competitive so far this season, and I’m confident we can be very strong in Monaco as well.”

Michael Schumacher, Mercedes
2011 Qualifying - 5th, 2011 Race - DNF

"Monaco is just a circuit of its own very unique character. In a way, you could look at it with a big portion of irony with regards to the contradiction that, for so many years we have successfully campaigned for more track safety, and then we deliberately race in Monaco. But in my view this is justifiable once a year, especially as the circuit is really so much fun to drive. Every time you go there, you just look forward to finally getting out and driving the track. Of course, knowing that I will lose five positions on the grid does not add to this feeling but this just means that I will have to try even harder. I'm actually quite confident that we should look reasonably good in Monaco due to the hard work that everybody in the team is putting into the development of our car. So let's make the best out of the weekend."

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes
2011 Qualifying - 7th, 2011 Race - 11th

"I love the Monaco Grand Prix weekend and it's a great feeling to be driving at home, knowing that all my friends and family are watching. I have always been quick around the streets here, and I believe a good result is possible for us next weekend. The nature of the track should suit our car but as we have seen at every race so far this season, tyre management will be crucial. With five different winning teams so far this year, at least ten drivers have the chance to win in Monaco so this could be one of the most interesting races there for years."

Ross Brawn, Mercedes team principal
"The uniqueness of Monaco makes it one of those tracks where anything can happen, particularly in a season that has proved to be almost impossible to predict so far. Despite the logistical challenges of the weekend, Monaco is a race that everyone on the team and the drivers really enjoy, and the experience of winning in Monaco is something very special indeed. After Nico's win in China, we have had two more difficult race weekends, but I am confident that we will start to see an improvement in Monaco as the developments that we have brought to the car recently take effect."

Norbert Haug, Vice-President, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
"With five different winners from five different teams in five races, it has been an exciting and unexpected first quarter of the 2012 season. Now Formula One visits the most atypical circuit of all, Monaco. It makes unusual, one-off demands of the cars: there are fast and narrow sections, but also eight corners taken at under 100 km/h and over 4,500 gear changes during the race. It is also incredibly challenging and rewarding for the drivers. In Monaco, more than any other circuit, the driver can really make the difference, especially on a single qualifying lap. Both Nico and Michael have shown a great feeling for the circuit and the ability to master it in recent seasons. After all the talk of unpredictability of the teams' performance levels this year, there are also clear facts: three of five races have been won from pole position, including Nico's victory in China. What's more, the five drivers who have completed every race lap are all in the top seven in the current championship standings. Strong qualifying speed has been rewarded at every race, and consistently finishing races appears to be even more important in 2012. In the last three races, Nico has scored a total of 41 points, the second highest total in the field after Sebastian Vettel with 43. Our focus in Monaco will be to extract the maximum from our further developed technical package. Giving the drivers a car they can trust and feel confident in is worth more here than at any other circuit on the calendar."

Heikki Kovalainen, Caterham
2011 Qualifying - 17th, 2011 Race - 14th

"Monaco's the race everyone in F1 wants to win, and it's not just a famous F1 race, it's one of the biggest annual events in the world. For drivers it's a pretty hard-core race, in and out of the cars, but it's a challenge I really enjoy and racing around the streets is one of the real highlights of being an F1 driver. On track it's one of the races where the pack bunches up a bit and that might give us a chance to do something special. Last year I finished 14th, one of our higher finishes of the season, so hopefully we can improve on that this year. We have KERS this year and a car that has good race pace, and as our car is slightly easier on the tyres than some of the teams ahead, maybe that will help us achieve a high race finish."

Vitaly Petrov, Caterham
2011 Qualifying - 10th, 2011 Race - DNF

"I’ve raced a lot in Monaco, not just in Formula One. I had a podium there in GP2 when I finished second in 2009, which was good. In F1 I’ve raced there twice. The first time wasn’t so great but last year was pretty good, right up until the point I crashed! That was so disappointing, but I couldn’t avoid it. We had a good strategy and I’d had a good race up to that point, but that’s how racing goes sometimes. Monaco is an unbelievable place though. Normally, between Barcelona and Monaco we have just one week and I’d leave Barcelona on Sunday night and drive to Monaco, because on the Tuesday of the race week we have the football match for the F1 drivers, which is always great. The track itself is always a little bit dirty at the start of the weekend and it’s quite difficult to get tyre temperatures up during the lap. It’s tricky because the walls are so close. If you make one mistake or have a little bit of oversteer, you don’t even get a chance to correct it - you’re in the wall. It takes quite a bit of mental preparation and you need to be totally focused for every single lap of every session. The race itself? The atmosphere in the race is incredible. It’s just an amazing place to drive a racing car and I really love it."

Mark Smith, Caterham technical director
“Monaco is a unique challenge, for the drivers and the teams. The fact we are in very different garage conditions to normal, and in a cramped paddock, makes it a tough race for the truckies, the mechanics and the engineers, but it is a race we all look forward to and one that everyone wants to do well at. The short length of the lap and the limited high-speed sections means there is much less difference in lap times than at somewhere like Barcelona. We all use high downforce settings, and we have a specific aero configuration we will use in Monaco and probably Hungary, but the days of cars sprouting all sorts of special wings just for Monaco are behind us. The cars may not look hugely different to how they appeared in Spain, but we do have as much downforce as we can find for the whole weekend in Monte Carlo.

“The other challenges are managing the brake cooling and tyre wear. Even though it’s a stop - start lap, the brakes are not put under huge strain as the speeds never get as high as a normal track, but there is a real emphasis on making sure we cool the brakes as efficiently as possible, and that is something we worked on at the Mugello test, so we are happy we have a good solution for that. For the tyre wear we have planned as well as we can, but we have seen so far this season that until we are actually out on track it’s almost impossible to know which teams will be hard on the tyres and which teams will be able to manage the degradation levels well. We have the soft and the supersoft compounds in Monaco, and if the wear rates on the softs are anything like we saw in Spain, strategy will be critical.”

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