May 24

Monaco Track Guide

With the grandest of all Grand Prix’s this Memorial Day weekend I thought it might be beneficial to post a track guide for everyone to sort of follow along. Monaco is known for being tight, twisty, with loads of elevation change, and it can sometimes be deadly. In some years the pomp and circumstance is more interesting than the racing, but sometimes the streets of Monaco provide for a real thriller.
Monaco track guide
All the greats have won Monaco and it is the crown jewel in any world champions cap. This year Alonso will try and win it for his third different team. A feat never before done. The race is also doubly important this year as the points standing are tight.

MONACO – This street circuit is extremely tight and twisty, rendering overtaking almost impossible. It also has the biggest elevations of any grand prix circuit. The cars power up the Beau Rivage to Casino Square and then wind their way back down through the famous hairpin section.

There is very little grip, so soft tires and the highest possible downforce setting are the order of the day. Most corners are taken in first or second gear, requiring teams to install low ratios.

The most challenging corners are Turn 1, Sainte Devote, where drivers are greeted with an Armco barrier if they turn in just 1km/h too fast. It’s easy to miss the braking point as the entrance to the corner is so bumpy. Massenet, at the crest of the Beau Rivage, is blind on entry, and often the scene of pile-ups. The Hairpin – the most famous turn in F1 – is also the slowest and requires full lock and gentle throttle application. The Tunnel – the only one in F1 – really is a shock to the eyes as drivers plunge in and out of darkness; the sound as the engine noise bounces off the walls is incredible. The chicane at the Swimming Pool really does defy physics as the cars bounce across its curbs.

This circuit requires 100 percent concentration from all the drivers, as the slightest mistake could ruin their weekend. After qualifying, the drivers’ eyes appear to be on stalks.

Local start time: 14h00
Number of laps: 78
Circuit length: 3.340km
Race distance: 260.520km
Grand prix debut: 1929
Lap record: Michael Schumacher (Ferrari, 2004), 1:14.439

1) Michael Schumacher (Mercedes) – started with grid penalty
2) Mark Webber (Red Bull Racing)
3) Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)
10) Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing)

1) Mark Webber (Red Bull Racing)
2) Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)
3) Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)
4) Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing)