Can rejuvenated Ferrari end 11-year wait for Monaco win?

2012 Monaco Grand Prix preview

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Given Ferrari’s immense success in the last decade it is remarkable their last victory in F1’s most prestigious race was over ten years ago.

Not since Michael Schumacher’s triumph in 2001 has a Ferrari won in Monaco.

Fernando Alonso has worked wonders with the F2012 so far this season and the revised car was clearly more competitive in Spain.

Can he give them their first victory at Monaco in 11 years this weekend?

If he does, he and Ferrari would be the first driver and team this year to win more than once.

But as we head into the sixth round of the season it’s possible we could see another different winners for the sixth race on the trot. Lotus and Sauber have both shown race-winning speed earlier this season.

A theme of the season so far has been how the reduction in gap between the teams and the more challenging tyres has meant the driver can make more of a difference to their finishing position. That is especially so on the streets of Monaco, where the forbidding walls reward the brave and punish the greedy.

Monte-Carlo circuit information

Lap length3.34km (2.075 miles)
Distance78 laps (260.5km/161.9 miles)
Lap record*1’14.439 (Michael Schumacher, 2004)
Fastest lap1’13.532 (Kimi Raikkonen, 2006)
TyresSoft and Super-soft

*Fastest lap set during a Grand Prix

Monte-Carlo track data in full

Pirelli are bringing their softest tyre compounds for the low-grip track: soft and super-soft. The suer-soft is the only compound in their range which remains unchanged from last year, though it shares the wider construction of Pirelli’s other rubber.

Sebastian Vettel’s pole position time of 1’13.556 last year was just three-hundredths of a second off the fastest lap of the current configuration. But with the ban on exhaust-blown diffusers making this years’ cars slower, it’s doubtful we’ll see a repeat of that performance.

Red Bull

Vettel remains the co-leader of the championship despite a disappointing weekend in Spain.

He won here last year, though was perhaps fortunate that the late red flag handed him a ‘get out of jail free card’, allowing him to change his tyres as he came under fierce pressure from Alonso and Jenson Button.


Despite having been the pace-setter more often than not this year, McLaren have played down their prospects for this weekend, feeling their car is better suited to tracks with quicker corners.

However Hamilton is definitely one to watch. He’s always been quick around here, having won in F3, GP2 and, of course, in the wet 2008 Grand Prix. He will be anxious to avoid a repeating his error of last year when he failed to set a ‘banker’ lap in qualifying, leaving him vulnerable when Sergio Perez crashed his Sauber.


An on-form Alonso pressed Vettel hard for victory last year. Sadly the late-race red flag meant we never got to see the do-or-die move that was surely coming.

Ferrari’s upgrade in Spain moved them decisively within range of the front runners. Having averaged 1.48% off the pace in the first four races they halved the deficit to 0.73%. Alonso is more than capable of making up that shortfall and contending for victory.


Schumacher had his knuckles rapped last weekend for cutting the track to baulk Lewis Hamilton during practice.

He starts this weekend on the back foot, knowing he will lose five places on the grid as punishment for hitting Senna during the race. Based on recent qualifying form there’s a good chance they’ll end up sharing row seven.

Team mate Nico Rosberg expects the W03 to suit this track better than the Circuit de Catalunya: “The nature of the track should suit our car but as we have seen at every race so far this season, tyre management will be crucial.”


Lotus are another team who’ve been cagey about their Monaco prospects – despite having finished two-three and three-four in the last two races.

Kimi Raikkonen is still not entirely happy with the steering on his car so there’ll be more modifications to his E20 this weekend.

Force India

Force India were on the fringes of the points in Spain but expects more from their recently-upgraded VJM05 this weekend.

Nico Hulkenberg will be hoping for a longer race than his maiden appearance here – a damaged front wing dumped him into the barrier at the tunnel on lap one.


Sauber showed great potential with their revised car in Spain, though it was slightly masked: Perez started fifth, but a first-lap punctured destroyed his race. Kamui Kobayashi might have bettered tenth on the grid had it not been for an hydraulic problem.

For Perez, this should be his first Monaco Grand Prix start following his nasty crash in qualifying last year. He had impressed up to that point, getting the Sauber into Q3. He won the GP2 feature race here in 2010. Kobayashi scored a career-best fifth in last year’s race.

Toro Rosso

Daniel Ricciardo is another driver who’s enjoyed success here. He ran in first practice at the track last year, which helped him on his way to a second consecutive win in the Formula Renault 3.5 support race.

It looks like a good chance for him to put on over his team mate, who’s had the beating of him in the last four races.


There’s a very real chance the first two-time winner of the year could be Pastor Maldonado following his superb win in Barcelona. The Williams has shown good low-speed traction and Maldonado has three wins at Monte-Carlo to his name from the junior categories.

Bruno Senna had a tough time in Spain but this weekend he will at least get to drive in all three practice sessions for a change.


Caterham have been frustratingly close-but-not-close-enough so far this year.

Monaco offers their experienced driver pairing the chance to gain some ground on the likes of Toro Rosso, but this is the one race where they may rue the absence of track specialist Jarno Trulli.


HRT’s aerodynamic update in Spain showed promising signs of progress but they’re still some way off getting on terms with Marussia.


Timo Glock was very proud of his qualifying lap here last year. On the evidence so far he may need another top-drawer effort to keep the increasingly impressive Charles Pic in check.

2012 driver form

Q avgR avgR bestR worstClassifiedForm guide
Sebastian Vettel651115/5Form guide
Mark Webber5.85.44115/5Form guide
Jenson Button4.68.81185/5Form guide
Lewis Hamilton75385/5Form guide
Fernando Alonso84.8195/5Form guide
Felipe Massa14139154/5Form guide
Michael Schumacher7.81010102/5Form guide
Nico Rosberg5.27.61135/5Form guide
Kimi Raikkonen9.26.22145/5Form guide
Romain Grosjean5.84.33363/5Form guide
Paul di Resta13.29.86145/5Form guide
Nico Hulkenberg13.411.59154/5Form guide
Kamui Kobayashi10.88.55134/5Form guide
Sergio Perez10.482114/5Form guide
Daniel Ricciardo12.613.29175/5Form guide
Jean-Eric Vergne15.612.28165/5Form guide
Pastor Maldonado10.810.251194/5Form guide
Bruno Senna14.612.756224/5Form guide
Heikki Kovalainen19.218.516234/5Form guide
Vitaly Petrov18.816.7516184/5Form guide
Pedro de la Rosa21.7520.2519214/4Form guide
Narain Karthikeyan23.521.6721223/4Form guide
Timo Glock2117.414195/5Form guide
Charles Pic20.618.3315203/5Form guide

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2012 Monaco Grand Prix

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Images © Ferrari spa/Ercole Colombo, Mercedes/Hoch Zwei, Sauber F1 Team

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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69 comments on “Can rejuvenated Ferrari end 11-year wait for Monaco win?”

  1. the problem for ferrari is that their biggest weakness is traction out of slow corners. Pretty crucial at Monaco!

    1. That would change if it rains…

    2. Yes but Ferraris strenght is mechanical grip likewise Mercedes, I wouldnt become surprise to see both Alonso, Rosberg and Vettel on top of the betting order.

  2. I was discussing on another forum the possibility of a PLANNED one stopper for some teams, and given Pirelli’s recent comments I dipped back in my notes to see how the supersoft (identical tyres) fared last year, and to my surprise (I must’ve missed it at the time) Liuzzi and Kobayashi actually were on planned one-stoppers.

    According to my notes, no one ran supersofts in FP1. FP2, Vettel did a 23-lap stint on the supersofts (outlap, 21 fliers, inlap). I must’ve missed FP3 – I’m drawing a blank on my notes.

    The longest “used supersoft” opening stint was Massa with 26 laps.
    The longest “new supersoft” opening stint was Barrichello with 32 laps.
    The single longest “used supersoft” stint was Sutil – 34 laps (L34 to L68)
    The single longest “new supersoft” stint was Liuzzi – 40 laps (L32 to L72).
    If you want data from someone other than a backmarker, single longest “new supersoft” goes to Kobayashi with 38 laps (34-72)

    Just in case anyone is interested :D

    With the prospect of rain this weekend things could change as the rain would wash the rubber away. I hope the race itself is dry. The FIA was already pretty gung ho with the safety car in Malaysia with massive runoffs. – who knows what they’ll do with the walls of Monaco?

    1. Apparently a 1 one stopper coming in on Lap 37 for a new set of options (super soft) – so starting on the prime (soft) – comes out ahead after the final set of pit stops for 2 or 3 stoppers.

      Whether they can stay ahead for the last 20 or so laps is another thing.

      1. Making that kind of calculation at this stage of the weekend (i.e. before the cars have even taken to the track) makes some pretty big assumptions about tyre performance and degradation, and track conditions, to say nothing of things like safety car deployments.

        1. Which is why I think the answer to your question “Can rejuvenated Ferrari end 11-year wait for Monaco win?” has to be yes, they can. So can several others win the race, but there’s nothing right now that says FA can’t do it. The way this season has gone, even FM shouldn’t be eliminated from that possibility, even if the odds seem slim based on his season so far. Many things can happen, especially if weather plays into it. One driver may luck out and surprise us if the car happens to work better on this specific track with his specific setup, or if a safety car shines luck on a driver for just being in the right place at the right time. But the odds are getting slimmer that we will see a 6th different winners in 6 races, however 5 in 5 flies in the face of that argument. We just don’t know, which is making this season fun.

        2. It is Pirelli’s own prediction apparently based upon the latest information from the teams and their own track and other current data.

          I am merely the conduit of information. lol.

          However, IMHO – all things being equal – its Hamilton all the way this weekend.

        3. @keithcollantine

          PS I believe it excludes safety car incidents and is a merely a strategy calculation to see where cars would lie (all things being equal) after the final round of iit stops. I think they do this at each circuit.

          1. Couldn’t the safety car assist this strategy?

            If you’re stopping once, this clears some of the 2 and 3 stoppers out of the way (diving into the pits for tyres early on SC deployment) and gets you to the front more quickly – as long as its in the first 20-25 laps or so.

      2. @aj13 That was from James Allen’s strategy preview piece wasn’t it? I read those – they’re very good reading material. But to be honest talking in any way of such absolutes is a fantasy. Pirelli may have simulated that with the same driving style and car, that L37 number is true, but it’s not much more than a model. A simulation based on predicted characteristics.

    2. Some notes! Good stuff there.

      1. @verstappen Mind you I don’t take them live – I record the race as it’s live, then I replay it immediately after the podium celebration and press conference are done. I note interesting things down, then by the time that’s done the FIA data packet and Pirelli data packets are all out – which I then download and note down interesting and noteworthy “milestones” as those.

        I think someone like @keithcollantine probably does a similar thing though! :P

  3. Looking at the driver form guide. Grosjean is doing fantastically well. If only he didn’t bin it in the first to races. While McLaren and Mercedes have consistently lost ground in the race relative to qualifying and closest competition.

    I have no idea who is going to be fast this weekend, form guide impossible to read. It is great.
    McLaren should still be at or near the top, Hopefully we see continued form from Williams and Lotus too.


    1. And Alonso has done a fantastic job of generally finishing ahead of where he started. I must say its another one that is extremely hard to call, but it might be very good race again.

    2. Hamilton has gained position on average?!

      1. Yes @swansf1 you’re right, but I am sort of discounting Spain a little, where he finished lower than the pace the car had in qualifying. Even then though, It is a lot easier to go backwards from the front row than forwards. Without Spain his average Qualifying would be pretty formidable.

  4. If he does, he and Ferrari would be the first driver and team this year to win more than two races.

    You meant more than one I guess?

    1. Indeed! Have changed it, thanks.

  5. Once again an article on this blog about Formula One which is so prejudiced against Michael Schumacher.

    1. By Keith stating facts? MS was reprimanded for his behaviour against LH in free practice in Spain…fact. MS was penalized 5 spots for Monaco for running into the back of Senna in Spain…fact. And MS has shown he can end up 8th to 10th on the grid for the start of a race, sometimes by not even trying a hot lap in Q3 in order to conserve tires, which if it happens again would put him 13th to 15th after his penalty is added, ie. row 7 in Monaco…fact.

    2. Damn those journalists and their facts!

    3. Once again a comment on this blog about Formula One which is so prejudiced against Keith

    4. What didnt Schumacher hit Hill and Villeneuve.

  6. matthewf1 (@)
    23rd May 2012, 11:45

    Your ‘Q avg’ column should actually show the qualifying average position, not the grid position. It is misleading to suggest that Hamilton’s average qualifying position is only 7.

    1. Yes, that would be better, I made a note to change that for future previews. It’s on the list, will get around to it when I can.

      1. Keith, maybe have “average quali position,” “average start position” and “average race position?” While factoring Spain into Hamilton’s average quali position is misleading, to put it up as 1 is also misleading in terms of showing how much he moved forward/backward in the race.

    2. Yeah we all know ‘7’ belongs to Rosberg :)
      Seriously though, discounting penalties;
      1st, 1st, 2nd, 2nd, 1st = 1.4 avg Qualifying position. That is extremely impressive and his best ever run of Quali positions at the start of a year. Even more impressive considering how close the field is this year and most are pretty much equal in the race. The man is living up to his ‘fastest in F1’ title. If Mclaren can stop the mistakes, it’s just gotta be his year again.

      1. With the best car in qualifying trim, it’s not really hard for Lewis to get pole when other teams like Red Bull and Ferrari are struggling.

        1. So why hasn’t Jenson done so well? Like it or not, Lewis has been making the difference, always making the car work in Quali when others can’t. Lewis and Fernando have been the best so far and when all things are almost equal it just confirms both of their talents.

          1. Jenson has never been famous for his qualifying performances unlike Webber, Vettel and Alonso, it’s always been his weak link since he makes it up on Sunday.

            If Jenson can help Lewis lock out the front row twice this season that car is faster than others in qualifying, easily!

            So when Lewis pulls a gap of about a second on the nearest RB8 in Spain you think that’s equal equipment? Lewis is strong in qualifying but he isn’t that strong to pull a second on the likes of Webber and Vettel without a better car, maybe 2-4 tenths on a stunning lap and theirs are average but you are flattering Lewis’ performances with Jensons main weakness.

            People were screaming dominant car when Vettel did that last year yet not a whisper this year when it’s clearly obvious McLaren have the better car in qualifying against RBR and Ferrari and most people believe so.

            I guess the RB7 wasn’t a dominant car either as Webber a qualifying expert failed to keep up with vettel…

          2. People were screaming dominant car when Vettel did that last year yet not a whisper this year when it’s clearly obvious McLaren have the better car in qualifying against RBR and Ferrari and most people believe so.

            That will be because there is not a dominant car this year in the race or qualifying. There have already been more teams take pole positions and race wins this year than the whole of last season. Mclaren might have a slight edge in qualifying (with Hamilton) but the car is not dominate.

          3. Jenson has never been famous for his qualifying performances

            Prior to the second half of 2009 I thought he was notoriously a good qualifier, particularly from 2004-2006.

          4. @Hayho I’m sorry, but you don’t get with in a tenth of Lewis Hamilton when he is on form in quali if you’re not good at qualifying. Jenson isn’t slow when it comes to quali, that’s a misconception, he just struggles to set the car up and that has been a lot of other people’s downfall this year. Something Lewis hasn’t had any bother with, hence he is making the difference. He’s never really struggled with set-up for qualifying because delivering banzai fast laps is natural to him regardless of car balance.
            The difference with last year and the Red Bull, is in the first race and for much of the season, Vettel was taking pole by 0.8s, which we haven’t yet seen anyone do this year. Quali form is fluctuating so much that one weekend you can be over a second off pole and the next you can be on the front row and only a few tenths off. Unless your Lewis, he is always there this year and I’m gonna give him credit for it all I like.

  7. matthewf1 (@)
    23rd May 2012, 12:45

    Really looking forward to this race. I wasn’t sure how I felt about this year’s Pirelli Lottery, but after watching the 2007 Mocano borefest on SkyF1 this week, I know I definitely prefer things as they have been this season.

    Winner could be anyone really. McLaren seem to be going backwards, certainly Button, though I think Hamilton could win. Lotus have been the most consistent team in terms of race pace so far, either one of the drivers would be among the favourites I think. Alonso will be up there, as always, and I think Vettel could be handy as the lack of Red Bull top speed is a non-issue this weekend.

    Strategy will be interesting, I think a one-stopper could be tried out by several drivers. Last year Vettel showed that track position is crucial, while McLaren decided they wanted to make three stops seemingly without thinking about how the tyres were or what their competitors were doing. Obviously qualifying was crucial to Vettel’s success as well.

    If I had to guess I would say Grosjean could win this week, maybe from second on the grid, behind Hamilton.

  8. I’d say just about anything would be better than the end of last year’s race …

  9. My money would be on Alonso to win.. He’s obviously performing well in a car that has been widely acknowledged to be pretty bad in comparison to the rest of the front-runners..
    In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him go on to win the championship.. It would certainly be a good story..
    I still can’t count out Maldonado though, particularly after his win in Spain…

    1. Good on you for your blind support of Alonso, although you have completely ignored the luck involved in his 2 best results. If you are relying on that kind of luck all through the season, then hey, whatever keeps you going mate!

      1. if you suggest that driving that horiible F2012 from 8th to 1st with the Sauber behind 1 second a lap faster & finishing 2nd in Spain despite not having the fastest car (it’s true that hamilton’s penalty was very helpful but kimi was much faster) is just “luck” then you should think a bit more about the true meaning of the word “luck”
        It’s true that in many times Alonso has been lucky but he’s always there to capitalize points exploiting other driver’s mistakes by driving the car absolutely on the limit & that’s the difference between him & all the other drivers
        Finally “Luck is just preparation waiting for an opportunity” Ross Brawn

        1. I think Ferrari themselves may be a little surprised that FA was able to pull off a win and a second place already, given their pre-season concerns. But I think it is wrong to assume that FA/Ferrari and their fans will have to rely on luck all through the season, and won’t keep improving the car and the car/setup/tire combos as the season goes along, as will other teams/drivers.

        2. Like I said, if that is what you are banking on to win the WDC then by all means go ahead and bet on it. But if you would like to get back to reality for a bit, you would realise that on pure performance the Ferrari is still behind Red Bull, MacLaren and Lotus not taking into account Mercedes, Williams and Sauber.

          1. The reality is that Alonso is leading the world championship in probably the 5th or 6th fastest car on the grid. If Ferrari improve their car steadily over the season, there is no reason why he shouldn’t be in the championship hunt.

          2. Your reality seems to be that Ferrari’s pure performance amongst the grid is static, and I think the real reality is that the top teams usually progress as the season goes along and solve issues or at least get a much better handle on them as time goes along, especially with a driver the likes of FA behind the wheel. ie. they made improvements for Spain and left with a 2nd place and any driver at any time can benefit from others’ misfortune self-imposed or otherwise. Said improvements may see them show a trend toward the sharp end of the grid again in Monaco and beyond. I don’t get the assumption here that on pure performance Ferrari is still behind the teams you cite. I think FA is right in the mix and you are going by old (already) info.

  10. Yep,i think if Alonso can get it right in qualifying he will be in with a good chance? Although i think, i hope, it will be a Lewis weekend at last. Whatever it should be another entertaining weekend with the weather looking as if it may through a spanner in the works.

  11. It’s a bit funny that Rosberg is saying that “tyre management will be crucial” whereas Pirelli have said that drivers should be able to push lap after lap at Monaco with management not being such an issue.

    I think we’re going to get a surprise winner this race, something crazy like Kobayashi or something. The way this season has gone anything is possible.

    1. Yeah I thought the same way of that comment from NR, but in fairness to him perhaps he is thinking in terms of some really close racing that may take a toll on the tires for some drivers moreso than others, based on how their cars have been eating tires, and based on the falling over the cliff concept. And then there’s the concept of trying to do the race with one stop, which will mean not killing one’s tires in short order in spite of Pirelli hinting otherwise, no matter which portion of which stint we are talking about. ie. I think tire management may be less crucial at this race than at others, but that doesn’t mean tire management is not still a factor that may prove to be one of the bigger ones to seperate a close field alongside qualifying as high up on the grid as possible due to the difficulty of passing at this venue.

      1. Yes you’re right Robbie. Since I heard that 1 stopping might be the way to go NR does have a point. Perhaps we will see the finished we were denied last year.

        The difficulty to pass is precisely what makes this 1 stopper so interesting… Take note DRS fans ;)

  12. Ferrari fans are going to get a little bit of a shock when they discover that they haven’t actually made up any time on the other teams with their Barcelona upgrades. People all seam to forget that the MacLaren was half a second faster than anybody else in qualifying there before the rubbish penalty.

    1. @blackmamba The data quoted in the article referring to Ferrari’s performance improvement relative to the other teams takes Hamilton’s disallowed time into account.

      1. But Keith, the data is only relevant to that particular race, otherwise one team would have been able by now to build some momentum from all the data from the start of the season. It was however evident that the Ferrari could not keep up with the Williams which IMO is behind on performance to the Red Bull, the MacLaren and the Lotus which were all out of position for the race.

        1. If the data is only relevant to that particular race, then can it not be said so was LH’s half a second faster pace in quali?

        2. @blackmamba That isn’t what you said though – you said that Ferrari’s performance was flattered by Hamilton’s pole position time being deleted. I just wanted to point out that I took that into account when I referred to it in the article.

          1. What I meant is that the other top teams have consistently been on the sharper end of the grid on performance at all the Grand Prix weekends, while Ferrari brought upgrades that were supposed to spring them forward and yet they failed to beat a Williams, also with their 2nd place result flattered by other cars being out of position!

          2. Sorry to keep interrupting but I don’t think I’m getting the point here. 5 winners in 5 races could perhaps mean lots of cars are ‘out of position’ compared to a more stable year like last year that saw SV run away with it, Mac in a solid second place in the WCC, Ferrari in a definite 3rd, with Merc a distant 4th from that, Renault (Lotus) a distant 5th etc, and that is often how it played out in the races.

            This year I think there is less consistancy, and what I’m seeing on the chart above is that FA is practically unrivalled in his improvement of Qavg to Ravg unless you look at a few guys playing amongst the lesser teams further back in the grid. Sure there has been a penalty here, a crash there that many drivers have benefitted from throughout the races…that’s racing. I guess it can be said that all the top 10 drivers have been flattered by MS’s bad luck so far that has seen him only finish 2/5 while without that bad luck he would likely be mirroring something more like NR’s stats so far. Again…that’s racing.

            I also think that in F1 one has to have more patience than to say that “Ferrari brought upgrades that were supposed to spring them forward and yet they failed to beat a Williams.” Yes…at that race…under those circumstances…that day…and the next race may easily show us something different going by how this season is evolving.

    2. I believe the “Qualy Cloud” was alleged to have assisted Ferrari greatly in Spain.

    3. herowassenna
      25th May 2012, 16:12

      The Mclaren wasn’t, Lewis in the Mclaren was.. big difference.

  13. The top three in points have average finishes of 4.8, 5, and 5. Their qualifying averages also are not stellar. If you just look at these data, it looks like a dead heat among very equal competitors. There is one stat that is thoroughly distoring—Hamilton’s average qualifying avg of 7th. Given the weak performance of his rivals on saturday and Sunday, if not for a run of bad luck and team errors, he would be completely dominating the table right now. Also for Button Australia seems like ancient history. He has fallen straight down the list since that day. For Alonso, there are six drivers with a better qualifying average, including bad-luck Hamilton. That is not a recipe for success. His days atop the table are numbered.

  14. When you look at things in that way, I would laugh my nuts off if Felipe Massa won Monaco. I know everyone will now call me all the names under the sun, but if there was ever an event in which to save your career then its Monaco.
    I remember the 2001 event well, thats the race inwhich Coulthard had to follow Bernoldi’s Arrows forever unable to make a pass.

  15. baaahhh…The only think u people agree on , is that ferrari is a piece of junk..Noone sees the fact that they are improving and they will keep on doing that..From my point of view ,Alonso will take the championship and u wont be able to realize it simply cause u underastimate them too much..

  16. For me FA and LH are the best drivers but i think LH has the better car and he and the team Will learn from mistakes and they Will improve. FA Will always be there and if someone make a mistakes he Will take his points

  17. If Ferrari are super strong around here, and if Alonso has whatever problem… Massa, winning? Now that would make this season completely and utterly bonkers!

    1. Even if Massa could do it, would Ferrari let him win? Certainly not if Alonso was anywhere near him.

      1. I think that is a valid question…personally I think the answer is yes, they would let FM take the win if it came down to that. I think it is early enough in the season, and even though I’m sure the temptation would be there to get FA the lion’s share of the points, there are so many races to go, and most importantly they have been publicly saying FM needs to up his game, starting at Monaco…Ferrari, imho, would look the fools if they were shown to be pressuring FM to improve, claiming they are behind him in achieving that goal, only to cut the legs out from under him. I think FM would be totally demoralized if they team-ordered him out of a win at this point. And I think if they were about to do that to FM then surely it would also mean he might as well be replaced mid-season…it would be a miserable and uncomfortable rest of the season on one side and maybe even both sides of the garage if they did this to FM at race 6 of a long season.

        Also, given that it is only race 6 and presuming an order would only be even considered if the drivers were close ie. FA looking to at least get second or third place, I think it would be worth it for the whole team to leave FA with those points, rather than for the sake of a handful more points create such a negative aura around the team, and from the fans, that would last the rest of the season.

  18. Tough one to call this one, well, they’ve all been tough!

    I think qualifying will play a big part, bigger than usual. I expect McLaren are correct about knowing what their advantage is and I guess the E20 will have it’s biggest advantage, speed, cut down significantly.

    Monaco really is a thorn in the side as far as the season goes. It’s quite unpredictable which when coupled with a season we’re having makes it impossible for me to call a winner. I think the weekend will be full of surprise results but I can’t see the action on track being too spectacular.

  19. Kimi is so winning this. Watch Lotus to focus on qualifying this weekend and get front row 1 – 2.

  20. I think Perez and/or Maldonado will be two outsiders to watch out for. Both showed good pace in Monaco last year. Give them a free quali lap (if that’s possible), and I think they could be close to the front of the grid.

  21. My bet is on Vettel to take this one. The RB8 has shown one thing that has intrigued me – if a circuit’s “laptime” corners are all in the same speed range, the setup can get hooked up, and they can be competitive. Take Australia and Bahrain – Bahrain is all about trail braking and hairpins, save for a couple of fast sweepers at the end of Sector 2. Australia… well it’s practically the same corner repeated over and over really. Turn 6/7, 9/10… all carbon copies of Turn 1/2. The penultimate corner is also a carbon copy of Turn 3 in reverse.

    Malaysia, China and Spain has hairpins and sweepers in a mix, and they’ve performed decidedly worse there than they have in Bahrain and Australia.

  22. One paper I’d expect one on the Renault powered cars to win as the pack is close and that is a very drivable engine, no top speed and power problems to fight against. Williams, RBR or Lotus for the win maybe.

    Having said that track position (and therefore quick clean pitstops) is everything. I think the pack of cards is stacked in the least favour for Mclaren so far, so with this season they’ll probably get a 1 – 2.

    Not worth thinking about too much, anyone apart from the ‘new’ teams could win it.

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