Monte carlo (Circuit de Monaco) - Lap of the circuit PDF Print E-mail

 

Circuit sections:
1. General information and layout
2. Background and history
3. Lap of the circuit
4. Drivers and teams about the circuit
5. Fast facts and techfile
6. Audio, video and pictures

3. Lap of the circuit

Monaco - Monte Carlo
Lap distance 3.340km
Total laps 78
Race distance 260.520km

A lap of the modern day circuit
 
The lap starts with a short sprint up to the tight St. Devote corner. This is a nearly 90 degree right-hand bend usually taken in third or fourth gear. This corner has seen many first lap accidents, although these are less common since the removal of the mini roundabout on the apex of the corner before the 2004 event, making the entrance to the corner wider. The cars then head uphill, before changing down for the long left-hander at Massenet.

Out of Massenet, the cars drive past the famous casino before quickly reaching the aptly named Casino Square. The cars snake down the next short straight, avoiding an enormous bump on the left of the track, a reminder of the unique nature of the circuit. This leads to the tight Mirabeau corner, which takes the cars into a short straight to the even tighter Grand Hotel hairpin (formerly known as Loew's Hairpin, or Station Hairpin before that). It is a corner which has been used for many overtaking manoeuvres in the past. However it would be almost physically impossible for two modern F1 cars to go round side by side, as the drivers must use full steering lock to get around.

After Mirabeau, the cars negotiate a double right-hander called Portier before heading into the famous tunnel, a unique feature of a Formula One circuit. As well as the change of light making visibility poor, a car can lose 20-30% of its downforce due to the unique aerodynamical properties of the tunnel.

Out of the tunnel, the cars have to brake hard for a tight left-right chicane. This has been the scene of several large accidents, including that of Karl Wendlinger in 1994, and Jenson Button in 2003. The chicane is probably the only place on the circuit where overtaking can be attempted. There is a short straight to Tabac, a tight fourth gear corner which is taken at about 120 mph. Accelerating up to 140 mph, the cars reach Piscine, a fast left-right followed by a slower right-left chicane which takes the cars past the swimming pool that gave its name to the corner.

Following Piscine, there is a short straight followed by heavy braking for a quick left which is immediately followed by the tight 180 degree right-hander called La Rascasse. This is another corner which requires full steering lock; it will be remembered for a long time as the the venue of one of the most suspicious maneuvers in recent Formula One history after the 2006 season when Michael Schumacher appeared to deliberately crash his car in qualifying so as to prevent Fernando Alonso - who was following - from out-qualifying him. The Rascasse takes the cars into a short, adversely-cambered, straight that precedes the final corner, Virage Antony Noghes. Named after the organiser of the first Monaco Grand Prix, the corner is a tight right-hander which brings the cars back onto the start-finish straight, and across the line to start a new lap.

Kimi Raikkonen's lap of the circuit
A lap of the Monaco Grand Prix circuit starts on the pit straight, which has a gentle curve to the right along its entire length. You reach 273km/h in sixth gear before braking hard as the track inclines for the infamous tight, bumpy, right of Sainte Devote, which is a virtual 90-degree corner taken at 94km/h in second gear and is usually the scene of first corner incidents. Accelerating up the Beau Rivage climb, your speed reaches 270km/h in sixth gear as you approach the long left of Massanet, which is negotiated at 136km/h in third. Keeping close to the inside curb through Massanet, you dab the brakes slightly for the bumpy right of Casino Square, which is taken at 127km/h, in second. A burst of acceleration follows, reaching some 209km/h in fourth gear on the downhill approach to the bumpy right-hander of Mirabeau. Keeping tight to the right as you reach the hairpin, you shift down through the gears to take Mirabeau at 80km/h in second gear. This is a possible overtaking opportunity. A short spurt of gas takes you to the Grand Hotel Hairpin, the tightest, slowest corner on the circuit, which requires full lock to negotiate it and sees the track continue to plunge downhill and your speed drop to below 46km/h in first gear. Two sharp right handers follow both in second gear, with a maximum speed of 87km/h, the second of which leads you to the entrance to the Tunnel. You have to be careful here as the armco on the exit is not straight. Pushing hard on the throttle, you sweep through the covered right-hand curve, which is the only flat out section of the track. You reach the maximum speed on the circuit, 282km/h in sixth, as you burst back out into daylight by the sea wall. Braking hard for the left-right Nouvelle chicane, your speed drops to 48km/h, before accelerating out along the run to Tabac. This fast left-hander is taken at 155km/h in third. Entering the swimming pool complex, your speed increases to just over 186km/h in fourth gear for the first section of the left-right kink, before braking to negotiate the slower, revised section, which now sees a tighter entrance, at 112km/h. Another short period of acceleration follows as you continue along the harbour front, which sees you reach 193km/h in third on the approach to the Rascasse. This sharp, right-hand hairpin, which poses a difficult braking manoeuvre as you swing round 180-degrees is taken at 48km/h in first gear. A short uphill straight leads to the final corner, which is taken in second at 88km/h, before accelerating up the hill along the pit straight to start another lap.
Lap of the Monaco circuit with David Coulthard (published: 2004)

A lap of the Monaco Grand Prix circuit starts on the pit straight, which has a gentle curve to the right along its entire length. You reach 170mph / 273kph in sixth gear before braking hard as the track inclines for the infamous tight, bumpy, right of Sainte Devoite, which is a virtual 90-degree corner taken at 50mph / 80kph in second gear and is usually the scene of first corner incidents. Accelerating up the Beau Rivage climb, your speed reaches 170mph / 273kph in sixth gear as you approach the long left of Massanet, which is negotiated at 85mph / 136kph in third. Keeping close to the inside curb through Massanet, you dab the brakes slightly for the bumpy right of Casino Square, which is taken at 80mph / 128kph, still in third. A burst of acceleration follows, reaching some 130mph / 209kph in fourth gear on the downhill approach to the bumpy right-hander of Mirabeau. Keeping tight to the right as you reach the hairpin, you shift down through the gears to take Mirabeau at 50mph / 80kph in second gear. This is a possible overtaking opportunity. A short spurt of gas takes you to the Grand Hotel Hairpin, the tightest, slowest corner on the circuit, which requires full lock to negotiate it and sees the track continue to plunge downhill and your speed drop to below 30mph / 48kph in first gear. Two sharp right handers follow both in second gear, with a maximum speed of 55mph / 88kph, the second of which leads you to the entrance to the Tunnel. You have to be careful here as the armco on the exit is not straight. Pushing hard on the throttle, you sweep through the covered right-hand curve, which is the only flat out section of the track. You reach the maximum speed on the circuit, 175mph / 281kph in seventh, as you burst back out into daylight by the sea wall. Braking hard for the left-right Nouvelle chicane, your speed drops to 30mph / 48kph, before accelerating out along the run to Tabac. This fast left-hander is taken at 89mph / 143kph in third. Entering the swimming pool complex, your speed increases to just over 130mph / 209kph in fourth gear for the first section of the left-right kink, before braking to negotiate the slower, revised section, which now sees a tighter entrance, at 70mph / 112kph. Another short period of acceleration follows as you continue along the harbour front, which sees you reach 120mph / 193kph in third on the approach to the Rascasse. This sharp, right-hand hairpin, which poses a difficult braking manoeuvre as you swing round 180-degrees is taken at 30mph / 48kph in first gear. A short uphill straight leads to the final corner, which is taken in second at 45mph / 72kph, before accelerating up the hill along the pit straight to start another lap.

LAP OF THE TRACK with Alex Wurz

"Driving a Formula One car around Monaco is a crazy experience because it's so narrow, but it's also a fantastic challenge. You have to decide everything on the corner entries and there's no space for error if you get it wrong. As a result, you need to build up your rhythm because you need to learn how much you can slide the car.

"To take you around the lap: there's a surprising amount of grip away from the start line, given that it's a temporary racetrack. There's then a very short run down to Sainte Devote, where the trick is not to out-brake yourself and to let the car roll in, touching the inside kerb a little bit. You then accelerate up the hill towards the Casino. The car gets very light over the hill at Massanet and just as it lands, you start to brake. To be quick through here, you don't want to destabilise the car by being too harsh with the brakes; you want to let it glide in,
which takes a lot of confidence.

"The right-hander through the Casino is third gear and it will be tough getting back on the power without traction control. Mirabeau comes next and the track drops away in the braking area, so you have to be patient. The front end goes very light initially, then when it grips, you can floor the throttle. The Fairmont Hairpin is very tight, but you can get through it with one turn of the wheel. As you accelerate out, you quickly select second gear to limit wheelspin before turning into the next right-hander. This leads into Portier, from where it's very important to make a good exit because you carry that speed through the tunnel.

"The tunnel isn't that challenging with the V8 engines, but it's still very fast. The cars are doing about 300kph at the exit, which feels pretty quick, and you only brake for the harbour chicane at the 100-metre board. The braking area is downhill and a bit bumpy, so it's easy to lock up a wheel. Next is the left-hander at Tabac, which is a pretty amazing corner. You can enter faster than you think and the apex is a barrier, so you have to be inch-perfect with your line to ensure you don't clip it. There's a lot of grip at the exit, so you can enter very fast and wait for the front tyres to grip.

"There is only a short straight before the Swimming Pool, which is taken almost flat-out. The car bounces over the kerbs and you get a bit of oversteer on entry, which makes it pretty exhilarating. The next chicane is fairly routine, but there are still walls to hit if you get it wrong. Then you're into Rascasse, which isn't as extreme as it used to be, and then you have to be careful not to enter the last corner too quickly because you need a clean exit from which to accelerate onto the start-finish straight."

 

Circuit sections:
1. General information and layout
2. Background and history
3. Lap of the circuit
4. Drivers and teams about the circuit
5. Fast facts and techfile
6. Audio, video and pictures

Last Updated on Saturday, 17 May 2008 07:34
 

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