The streets of Monaco play host to the 73rd Monaco Grand Prix and 6th round of the the Formula One World Championship this weekend. Modern cars and drivers will race round a circuit that has remained relatively unchanged since the first Formula One Grand Prix took place here in 1950.
Monaco is regarded as the jewel in the crown of Formula One, attracting A list celebrities from all over the world, and with the racing happening in the streets of a small coastal city centre on the French riviera, it’s hard to believe there is a Grand Prix taking place here. Free Practice 1 and 2 happen on a Thursday, due to the circuit being used as a public road even during the Grand Prix weekend. Only GP2 and Formula Renault 3.5 races run on a Friday morning, with the circuit open to the public from 14:00 local time. Even a Grand Prix won’t stop Monaco, which is what makes this race so amazing. On Thursday the likes of Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel will be seen dialing in their car as they fly around La Rascasse into Anthony Noghes - the finals turns of the 3.4km circuit. After the 20 cars have finished their first two practice sessions, you can sit down outside a restaurant with a meal and ice cold beer in the exact spot where on the very next day, the greatest racing drivers in the world will qualify for one of the toughest races of the year.
Monaco is regarded as a home race for a lot of drivers, including Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, the former grew up and went to school here, so for him this really is a home race. Rosberg has an opportunity this weekend to seal his name in the history books along with the likes of Senna, Graham Hill and Alain Prost by winning the race for the third time in a row, sure enough Lewis Hamilton will do everything within his power to stop him. Hamilton himself will be hoping to earn himself a second Monaco victory after winning in 2008 for McLaren. Pole position is crucial for the race, as even if there are no accidents and the Gods don't open the heavens, it is incredibly difficult to over take here. Drivers will celebrate pole like a win, as it cements their chance of winning more than any other race on the calendar.
Tyres are more important here than at any other circuit, due to the circuit's demand for mechanical grip. The average speed is so low, tyres are just as - if not more - effective than aerodynamic grip. Pirelli are introducing a brand new supersoft tyre compound for this weekend (this is the first race using the supersoft this season), which they are saying has a higher resistance to blistering and graining without sacrificing the extraordinarily high grip it has to offer. The track surface is the least abrasive of the year; so where in some cases where the supersoft would burn up after 2 or 3 laps, the soft and supersoft could go quite a bit further, which is evident from last years race winning strategy with Nico Rosberg taking the win with a one stop strategy.
Manor will pay a heart warming tribute to Jules Bianchi this weekend, by wearing red wristbands bearing the words 'MONACO 2014. P8. #JB17’. Bianchi scored the teams first and only points in Formula One by finishing eighth, but was handed a 5 second timed penalty for serving a penalty during a safety car which placed him in ninth position. Bianchi is currently still in hospital in his home city of Nice following his harrowing crash at the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix. #ForzaJules
It should be an exciting race weekend as Ferrari, following the Barcelona test, say they have made good progress with their updates, which at first both drivers didn't take to very well at the previous round in Spain. Mercedes still remain the team to beat, as they look to continue their dominance with Hamilton having been given the 1st option on qualifying for Q3 which was determined on a “coin toss”. Hamilton seems to be in good spirits as he has spent the past 2 weeks in Monaco, and has just signed an extension on his Mercedes contract to keep him with the team until 2018.
- The Supersoft and Soft Compound selected with the expected performance gap between each tyre compound to be around 1.0 to 1.1 seconds a lap
- This is the 73rd Monaco Grand Prix.
- Track consists of 19 corners - eleven right and eight left - and is 3.340km around one lap
- Nico Rosberg driving for Mercedes won the 2014 Monaco Grand Prix.
- Pole lap record: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) 1:13.556 (2011)
- Fastest Lap record: Michael Schumacher (Ferrari) 1:14.439 (2004)
- Weather: sunshine all weekend with highs of 15 (rain expected), 18 (rain expected) and 19 for Thursday, Saturday and Sunday respectively, all temperatures in degrees celsius. Note Free Practice takes place on Thursdays instead of Fridays here in Monaco
- 1100 tonnes of grand stands
- 622 marshals
- 743 fire extinguishers
- 21km of safety rails
- 700m of Tecpro barriers