Monaco Grand Prix (French: Grand Prix de Monaco) is a Formula One motor race held each year on the Circuit de Monaco. Run since 1929, it is widely considered to be one of the most important and prestigious automobile races in the world, alongside the Indianapolis 500, and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The circuit has been called "an exceptional location of glamour and prestige."
The race is held on a narrow course laid out in the streets of Monaco, with many elevation changes and tight corners as well as a tunnel, making it one of the most demanding tracks in Formula One. In spite of the relatively low average speeds, it is a dangerous place to race. It is the only Grand Prix that does not adhere to the FIA's mandated 305 kilometres (190 mi) minimum race distance.
The first race in 1929, was organised by Antony Noghès under the auspices of the "Automobile Club de Monaco", and was won by William Grover-Williams driving a Bugatti. The event was part of the pre-Second World War European Championship and was included in the first World Championship of Drivers in 1950. It was designated the European Grand Prix two times, 1955 and 1963, when this title was an honorary designation given each year to one Grand Prix race in Europe. Graham Hill was known as "Mr. Monaco" due to his five Monaco wins in the 1960s. Brazil's Ayrton Senna won the race more times than any other driver, with six victories, winning five races consecutively between 1989 and 1993.
Monaco is unique and it’s not and easy race to win, even with the fastest car. And this year could be very eventful. The track layout is tight, with no high speed corners, two short straights and the lowest average lap speed of the season at 157 km/h (99mph). The only possible overtaking place is on the run between the exit of the tunnel and the chicane, but drivers must be careful as it is very dirty off line in the tunnel and they can lose grip by picking up dust and discarded rubber from the tyres.
Track length : 3.34 kilometres
Race distance : 78 laps (260.52 kilometres)
Corners : 19 corners in total
Average lap speed : 157km/h
Aerodynamic setup : High downforce
Top speed : 295km/h (with Drag Reduction System active on rear wing) – 285km/h without
Full throttle : 45% of the lap (lowest of year)
Time spent braking : 21% of the lap (high)
Braking zones : 13
Brake wear : Medium; 48 gear changes per lap
Total time needed for pit stop : 25 seconds
Lap record : 1:14.439 (Michael Schumacher, Ferrari, 2004)
The forecast looks good with temperatures around 20 degrees and a low chance of rain. Being coastal however rain can arrive quite suddenly. More rain is forecast this weekend but, for the time being at least, it is not expected to interfere with the competitive sessions.
The first showers are expected in time for the beginning of first practice which, uniquely, is on Thursday instead of Friday. Further rainfall is expected in the run-up to the second practice session later in the day. The rain will lessen on Friday, when F1 cars do not run, and no further precipitation is expected over the remaining days.
Saturday is forecast to be fine and sunny, with clear skies and air temperatures exceeding 20C – ideal conditions for qualifying. Similar temperatures are expected on Sunday, though there will be cloud cover in the morning which should break up during the grand prix.
Pirelli tyre choice for Monaco: Supersoft and Soft. Monaco is gentle on tyres, the track surface is smooth and there are no high energy corners.
The supersoft tyre makes its 2014 debut and looks like the tyre most runners will prefer. It goes without saying that perfect execution in qualifying is critical for a strong race performance. Pirelli has been very cautious and conservative so far in its tyre choices. Last year, for example, it used the supersoft in Australia, but this year it has held it back until now.
There is scope for teams that are kinder on their tyres than rivals, to pit early and attempt the undercut, at an early point in the race, knowing that their rivals will not be able to react and bring their car in because it will not make it to the finish from there on a single set of tyres.
The Monaco Grand Prix will again feature a single DRS zone this season, the FIA has confirmed. As has recently been the case in the principality, the detection point will be situated between Turns 16 and 17, while the activation marker is to be placed on the exit of the final corner (Turn 19) for the run to St. Devote. Monte-Carlo's sole zone breaks a trend, with 2014's opening five races featuring two DRS zones.
Very high; there is an 80% chance of a safety car and if it falls at the right time it can make your race. But if it falls at the wrong time, your victory plans fall apart – as they did for Jenson Button in 2011, who was trying to drive flat out uninterrupted on three stops, a risky plan given the likelihood of the safety car.
The Mercedes was the fastest car in Monaco last year and this year it has been unbeaten in the first five races. However the Red Bull will be closer on pace here as the power deficit from the engine will be less significant. The Red Bull chassis is very nimble. Red Bull has won the race for the three of the past four seasons
Ferrari will have a few problems unless they can sort out their issues with traction. Ferrari hasn’t won at Monaco since 2001, a drought of 14 years. Monaco requires a particular technique of driving close to the barriers and this is a venue where a driver can make a real difference. But the challenge will be even greater this year as the power delivery from the new hybrid turbo engines makes handling these cars a real challenge.
As far as drivers’ form is concerned at Monaco, all the world champions have won Monaco; Sebastian Vettel won in 2011, while other previous Monaco winners in the field are Kimi Raikkonen, Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso. Nico Rosberg won last year from pole.
Only a few minor changes have been carried out to the circuit ahead of this year's Grand Prix at Monaco, where racing has taken place since 1929. The track has been resurfaced from the exit of the Casino until the start of the tunnel, while small sections before the Nouvelle Chicane and Tabac (Turn 12) have been resurfaced. The entire pit wall and debris fence has been renewed and the TecPro barrier at Turn 12 has been more efficiently constrained.
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