The 2006 Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix

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Ed
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The 2006 Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix

Post by Ed » Wed May 24, 2006 2:56 pm

This is the place to discuss everything related to the seventh round of the 2006 season taking place at Monaco between the 25th and the 28th of May. (Remember in Monaco there is no Friday practice, it is on Thursday instead)

The Monaco Grand Prix Preview is available here
The main Monaco Grand Prix page is available here

To submit your 8 'n' Pole Picks for Monaco click here, to register in the competition click here
Last edited by Ed on Mon May 29, 2006 1:21 am, edited 2 times in total.

Ed
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Post by Ed » Wed May 24, 2006 2:57 pm

The event timetable for the Monaco Grand Prix

Thursday
1st Practice 11:00 local time - 09:00 GMT
2nd Practice 14:00 local time - 12:00 GMT

Saturday
Practice 11:00 local time - 09:00 GMT
Qualifying 14:00 local time - 12:00 GMT

Sunday
Race 14:00 local time - 12:00 GMT

Ed
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Post by Ed » Wed May 24, 2006 3:02 pm

The latest weather forecast for the Monaco Grand Prix (last updated 24 May)

Thursday
1st Practice - 11:00 - 19 - Partly Cloudy
2nd Practice - 14:00 - 23 - Sunny

Saturday
Practice - 11:00 - 22 - Sunny
Qualifying - 14:00 - 24 - Sunny

Sunday - 24 - Partly Cloudy
Race - 14:00
Last edited by Ed on Fri May 26, 2006 11:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Ed » Wed May 24, 2006 3:52 pm

Selected Team and Driver preview quotes (as they become available):

Renault - Flavio Briatore
Q: Flavio, at the last race in Barcelona, the Renault F1 Team committed to Formula 1 beyond 2008. How important was that act?
It sent out the message that Renault is strong and is staying in Formula 1. That was important for our people in the company, and those outside too. Ever since Mr Ghosn arrived last year, he has said that if the results we get are in proportion to the investment, then we will stay. But there had been a lot of rumours that there were doubts for the future. So it was important to send a strong sign, that Renault is committed.
Q: Next year's Renault F1 Team will be without Fernando Alonso. Will it be a big loss?
Of course. But he is young, he has won a lot with the team, and he has been here for five years. So he wanted a new challenge and motivation. If he had talked to me, I would have given him a different opinion on what he should have done for his future. In the end, though, maybe this change is good for the team as well. You get into a cycle, and if you don't change, the winning ends. It happened to Benetton ten years ago, with Ferrari last year, and maybe it could have happened to Renault as well. Now, we have a fresh motivation for 2007: to make sure Renault is beating McLaren and Alonso.
Q: When will you announce your driver line-up for 2007?
The situation has not changed. In our car, today, there are three or four drivers who could win races. Michael Schumacher, Alonso, Raikkonen and Fisichella, who has shown he can win races with us. For the future, there are drivers like Hamilton, or Kovalainen who could possibly win championships. Our job is to make sure we have the car to attract those drivers, and to do that, we need to be quicker than the opposition. That is the priority and at the moment, we are delivering.
Q: Now we arrive in Monaco, the jewel in the crown of Formula 1. What are your expectations?
Monaco is what Formula 1 is all about: putting on a fantastic show for the fans, for the TV, for everybody. Renault will be strong, and we want to win there ? like we did two years ago with Trulli. But the important thing is that people are excited by this season, and we are having a fantastic battle with Ferrari. We need to look at everything in a simple way: what matters is the show on the track, not the talking. So far, I think we are entertaining our public, and we want to continue doing that in Monaco.
Fernando Alonso
Q: Fernando, Monaco is often called the ultimate drivers' circuit. Is it your favourite track of the year?
Monaco is different to anywhere else, completely different. First of all, we run a special set-up to cope with the bumps and tight corners, so the car feels very different and is quite hard to drive. The circuit is so tight, that it is hard to get the car and tyres to the maximum, or to use maximum power on this track. At the end of the day, from the point of view of getting maximum performance from a Formula 1 car, this is not my favourite circuit.
Q: A lot of people have expressed worries about how the 2006 qualifying format will work at such a tight circuit. What do you think?
I think everybody will be a little bit worried about qualifying. Already in Monaco, you normally have a lot of traffic in every session, and this year qualifying will be very tough. I think the first 15 minutes will be hardest because one yellow flag, or if the guy in front has problems, then you could be out. So we need to be careful, and for sure we will have a different strategy to make sure we get into the top ten.
Q: You won the last race in Barcelona, a circuit that shows the quality of the overall package. What are the chances for the R26 in Monaco?
I think the car will be quick there. You need good traction at this circuit, and that has been a strong point for the R26 all the way through the season so far. Michelin did a fantastic job in Spain, and they have always been very strong in Monaco, so they should be there as well. This has been a good Renault track in the past but more than ever, we will need a perfect, mistake-free weekend to fight for the win. That will be what we are focusing on.
Giancarlo Fisichella

Q: Giancarlo, you have always been known as something of a Monaco specialist. What do you enjoy about driving in the Principality?
It has always been a great circuit for me, and I have always been quick there. It is a very difficult circuit, but I have always enjoyed it and, more importantly, felt very comfortable driving there. I think that the race is going to be very tough physically and mentally, but I am really looking forward to it.
Q: So you are feeling confident for the performance in Monaco?
I am sure the R26 will be quick there, yes. The last race in Barcelona was good for me: after some difficult times, I had a weekend without problems and got to the podium, so I was pleased with that. We know that the battle is very tough at the moment, and a lot will depend on the Michelin tyres this weekend. The test team worked hard to find the right choices last week at Paul Ricard, so I think we can be optimistic. I am very confident I can have a very good weekend in Monaco.

McLaren - Martin Whitmarsh
The Monaco Grand Prix is the most prestigious event of the year, this is partly the location but also the heritage. The race holds particular significance for the team, as McLaren made its Formula 1 debut at Monte Carlo 40 years ago. Whilst we are pushing hard to develop the performance of the MP4-21, we are aware we have a challenge ahead on the streets of Monte Carlo if we are to build on this record. Because there is such low grip we will run the softest Michelin tyres of the year. Team McLaren Mercedes conducted a four day test at the Paul Ricard track last week, where our work with Michelin focused on tyre selection for Monaco. The track was in a configuration to mimic as much as possible the street circuit and we were able to get some positive feedback with Michelin and other areas of the test programme such as the bodywork modifications for the race. Monaco will also see us use the maximum downforce configuration, good front end grip for exact turning into the tight corners, an engine with good torque and an efficient traction control.
Kimi Raikkonen
Monte Carlo is a completely different challenge to the Barcelona track we will be pushing hard for victory. To lay the foundation for a good result you have to perform well in qualifying. In Monaco overtaking is almost impossible as the track is so twisty and narrow. Because of this, I am sure we will see some interesting strategies from all the teams. Also Monaco is all about the car being responsive, particularly the front end. You are less aggressive under braking here into the corners because the barriers are so close and you need to be precise, and a responsive front end means the car is better in the mid corner and exit performance, allowing you to get on the throttle without having to wait for the car to turn the corner. At Monaco this is where you can find time, so the handling of the car and the mechanical grip are more important than other areas, such as aero efficiency.
Juan Pablo Montoya
Everything about the Monaco Grand Prix is great, it is such an historic track and this creates a fantastic atmosphere. It is a unique challenge to race at because of its short, tight layout and other factors such as the gutters and manhole covers, the camber as the road crowns and all the white lines. Despite all this, the ride height isn't massively high, instead we run with suspension that has more compliance than normal. It isn't very comfy for the drivers, as you really feel all the bumps, but you don't notice it because you are there to race. Also the corner loadings and pressures on straights are much less so it is not too tough physically. Cooling is another issue at Monaco, because there are no real straights. As a result we run with the maximum cooling package of the season and we spent time at Paul Ricard last week focusing on the Monaco spec for cooling. We covered over 3,000km in total at the test and in addition to work for Monaco, we also looked at specific components and set-ups for the much faster Canadian Grand Prix.

Honda - Gil de Ferran
Monaco is unique in many ways and it certainly has a special place in F1 history. For the teams, cars and drivers, it also represents a tough challenge. The nature of the tight and twisty circuit emphasises different performance areas on the car than at other tracks. In preparation for the event, we tested a configuration of the Vallelunga circuit that most closely replicated the layout that we will encounter next weekend. During the test, we evaluated aerodynamic, mechanical and tyre specifications specially designed for the streets of Monaco. All the preparation is done - our drivers enjoy the track - let the weekend begin!
Jenson Button
I'm really looking forward to this year's Monaco Grand Prix. I had a good race there in 2004, finishing second after a really exciting battle. It's a crazy place to be racing, the circuit is very tight and twisty and you can really feel the speed of the car when the barriers are so close to you. It's a different race than any other on the calendar, with so much history, and it means even more to me as I live in Monaco so it's one of my home races. You need good mechanical grip from the car and this is also a circuit where the driver can make even more of a difference to the race outcome. We've been really strong in qualifying all this year and that will be very important for the race as it's almost impossible to overtake except in the pit stops. It's also a fantastic race for the fans who can get so close to the action.
Rubens Barrichello
Like most drivers, Monaco is one of my favourite races and it's always a bonus to be based at home. I particularly enjoy qualifying at Monaco, it's one of the biggest challenges of the year and so important to get right. Overtaking is very difficult around the street circuit so you have to qualify well and get a good grid position. We had a positive test at Vallelunga working on chassis set-up and tyres specifically for this race. We know that the potential is there for the car to qualify well so I'm looking forward to a good weekend.

Williams - Sam Michael
Last week we were at the Vallelunga circuit, near Rome, where we spent the four days mainly testing tyres for Bridgestone, but also working on mechanical and aerodynamic set-up for Monaco?s maximum downforce circuit. Because Monaco is a street circuit, the increase in grip levels over the race weekend is significant. Formula One tyres are very soft for Monaco and therefore a lot of rubber is laid down on the track. Also, as with any street circuit, there is a lot of oil and other contaminants on the road surface.
Overtaking is extremely difficult in Monaco, but not impossible, as Williams showed in last year?s race, so qualifying and race strategy are key to a good result here. We have an aerodynamic upgrade on the FW28 especially for this race to ensure we get the best out of this maximum downforce track.
Mark Webber
Monaco is certainly a very special race on the calendar for everyone involved in Formula One. It?s an historic event and one we all want to do well at. We had a good result there last year and I hope we can improve on the previous race in Barcelona by quite some margin and get some solid points for the team. I love the challenge of Monte Carlo and, as a sporting event, the atmosphere is absolutely amazing. I really hope it will prove to be a turn in fortunes, and form, for the team. It can?t come soon enough after the last race and I?m just looking forward to getting there.
Nico Rosberg
Monaco will be a special weekend for me. Racing in the town where I have lived all my life, and with all my friends supporting me on such a fascinating circuit, will be great. I had a great race here in GP2 when I finished third and, although the track will be quite different in a Formula One car, I'm going into the weekend with a strong belief that we can do well.

BMW - Mario Theissen
Raw power doesn?t get you very far on this tight and twisty course. Instead, it?s good engine driveability that makes the difference. The hairpin at the Grand Hotel is the only corner all year when engine speeds dip below 5,000 rpm. The nigh-on 200 bhp performance gap between the 3.0-litre V10 engines in 2005 and this year?s 2.4-litre V8 will be less visible at Monaco than anywhere else. Qualifying in Barcelona was the first time a car had set a faster lap time than last year. Similarly, I wouldn?t be surprised to see a new lap record this year in Monaco.
Nick will line up with a new engine in Monaco after his previous unit completed its two-race stint, while this will be the second GP for Jacques? engine. Monte Carlo will also see the cars set the lowest top speeds of any circuit on the calendar and operate flat out for the shortest amount of time. On the other side of the coin, the engines get less cooling air, and that can push oil and water temperatures to the limit.
Nick Heidfeld
The race in Monaco is without doubt one of the highlights of the season. Driving through the streets with the apartment blocks and buildings on either side is an extraordinary feeling. I finished second last year, but even if I hadn?t got such a great result the race would still have been a lot of fun. Qualifying will be much trickier than in recent years, with a lot more cars out on the track at the same time.
Jacques Villeneuve
Monaco is a very exciting track to drive on and that is probably the track where we were the most competitive last year with Sauber. It is hard on the tyres because we go with very soft compounds. However, the car is normally quite easy on tyres. This GP is a race where anything can happen; you can start last and still get on the podium. There was a year when only four cars finished. There?s always a lot of excitement around Monaco and I think we can probably do quite well there.

Toyota - Pascal Vasselon
At Monaco you are so close to the track that you can feel how fast an F1 car really is. So it is a special place and it will be even more special this year because we will run our TF106B for the first time. The car is a long-planned mechanical evolution of the TF106 that we have raced so far this year, featuring a development of the new front suspension concept introduced on the TF105B at the end of the 2005 season. Our policy is constant evolution and the TF106B gives us an excellent mechanical base for continued aerodynamic development during the season. At Monaco we always run a different aerodynamic configuration anyway to achieve maximum downforce around the twisty streets, but it's a place that tyres and driver are more important than anywhere else. We have made good progress in partnership with Bridgestone and we have two drivers who always perform well at Monaco so we are looking forward to it.
Ralf Schumacher
From a driving point of view it's great to drive at Monaco and a challenge to be quicker than everyone else round the narrow streets. The barriers are closer than anywhere so you need to adapt your approach slightly. But that is something we have all got used to down the years. The first challenge is to secure a good place on the grid and then to try and finish the race without mishap. Still, I have always been quick there and I've taken pole position and a podium in the past. Last year I made the points and we will hope for more this weekend. Tyre choice is always tricky because the track changes so much during the weekend. But if you have a driveable car here it's fun so I'll be looking forward to trying out our new TF106B.
Jarno Trulli
Monaco is one of my favourite tracks and it's a great event with a fantastic atmosphere. It's also a circuit where things have always gone well for me, above all when I won the race from pole position in 2004. Qualifying is critical for the race because of the notorious difficulty in overtaking and Saturday should be extremely eventful. This year's qualifying rules mean that we can expect a lot of traffic during the sessions. They are likely to be chaotic, with cars getting in each other's way and the fight for grid positions could turn into something of a lottery. It's hard enough putting a lap together around the streets when they are clear, but it is all but impossible to pass even a much slower car. Nonetheless I am looking forward to returning to action on this classic circuit and hoping for a good result.

MF1 Racing - James Key
Monaco is very much a unique case that requires the car to be set up completely differently. Typically, it is possible to run very inefficient downforce, so we will be running at maximum downforce with the addition of some new aero components. The bumpy surface and tight corners require a soft mechanical setup and maybe a shift in weight distribution. As well, the soft tyres run at Monaco tend toward an understeer balance, so we will be looking at ways of overcoming that while still looking after the rear tyres. We have some suspension modifications which will be introduced for Monaco, some of which will be carrying through as permanent development. Toyota is continuing its good development rate and has provided us with another step on the engine. Monaco is always an event where anything could happen. We have had a couple of setbacks this year, but by and large our reliability record is still very good. Provided we take a sensible approach to the race and maintain our good reliability, there could be points for the taking at the end.

Super Aguri - Aguri Suzuki
Mechanical problems have hindered our progress and prevented Franck from finishing the last race in Barcelona. I had hoped that we would have a two-car finish in Spain, however if both SUPER AGURI F1 TEAM cars cross the line at the end of the Monaco Grand Prix I will be happy. We need to keep learning from the problems we experience and never give up on the challenges that we face. I am looking forward to returning to Monaco next week as it is one of my favorite races on the F1 calendar.

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Post by <T-K> » Thu May 25, 2006 2:25 am

Ed wrote:Q: A lot of people have expressed worries about how the 2006 qualifying format will work at such a tight circuit. What do you think?
Quote:
I think everybody will be a little bit worried about qualifying. Already in Monaco, you normally have a lot of traffic in every session, and this year qualifying will be very tough. I think the first 15 minutes will be hardest because one yellow flag, or if the guy in front has problems, then you could be out. So we need to be careful, and for sure we will have a different strategy to make sure we get into the top ten.

I agree completely...We could see some big names knocked out in the first session.....and probably a lot of drivers storming between garages to have a word with some slower guys...(Fisichella style)

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Tough guess

Post by Andre_Brasil » Thu May 25, 2006 7:05 am

Funny thing about this race is that almost every team thinks it is the one they have a shot.
Tough to bet at 8 'n' Pole...

Maybe Ferrari will not do as well as the last three races, but MS is always a favourite.

I expect Monaco will be more exciting than Barcelona and Nurburgring!
The fun starts tomorrow...
Andre Bertrand
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Brasil

Julian Mayo
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Post by Julian Mayo » Thu May 25, 2006 1:55 pm

My fearless prediction is that the SafetyCar will complete enough laps to qualify as a finisher :lol:
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Post by <T-K> » Thu May 25, 2006 4:01 pm

Julian Mayo wrote:My fearless prediction is that the SafetyCar will complete enough laps to qualify as a finisher :lol:


Like in Australia....where the safety car officially came in in third place, and also lapped Barrichello....great drive by Berndt Maylander....didnt put a foot wrong all race..... 8)

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Post by Julian Mayo » Thu May 25, 2006 5:19 pm

<T-K> wrote:
Julian Mayo wrote:My fearless prediction is that the SafetyCar will complete enough laps to qualify as a finisher :lol:


Like in Australia....where the safety car officially came in in third place, and also lapped Barrichello....great drive by Berndt Maylander....didnt put a foot wrong all race..... 8)
Perhaps we have worked out who will be driving for Renault next season :shock:
The Mountain is a savage Mistress.

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Post by Ed » Thu May 25, 2006 6:59 pm

1st Thursday practice session about to start.

Air temperature is 23 degrees while track temperature is 29.

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Post by Ed » Thu May 25, 2006 7:02 pm

Session underway and a number of drivers go out for their installation laps.

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Post by Ed » Thu May 25, 2006 7:04 pm

Anthony Davidson (Honda test driver) is the first to set a time. A 1:23.219

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Post by Ed » Thu May 25, 2006 7:06 pm

Wurz goes fastest with a 1:20.287.

Only 2 drivers have set times so far.

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Post by Ed » Thu May 25, 2006 7:09 pm

Kubica (BMW Sauber test driver) is on the track now as Wurz pits.

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Post by Ed » Thu May 25, 2006 7:11 pm

Both Wurz and Davidson have improved their times, a 1:19.262 and a 1:19.681 respectivly. This track gets faster by the minute.

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