Start, Circuit de Catalunya, 2016

2016 Monaco Grand Prix team-by-team preview

2016 Monaco Grand Prix

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After one of the most dramatic races of recent times we head to Monte Carlo with plenty of intriguing storylines to follow. Here’s how the teams stack up for the Monaco Grand Prix.

Mercedes

While Mercedes attempt to put a lid on the fall-out from their drivers’ clash in Spain the dynamic between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg this weekend will be scrutinised mercilessly by the media.

Nico Rosberg has taken the last three victories in a row on the Monaco streets he grew up in. On the other side of the garage Hamilton will be desperate not only to score his first victory since October, but avenge his lost victory from 12 months ago.

Ferrari

Ferrari appear to be in danger of losing their status of ‘best of the rest’ behind Mercedes.They were comprehensively outperformed by the Red Bull team in Spain. Their post-race testing in Barcelona was focussed on peak performance running for qualifying which, as the last race showed, is asignificant weakness.

However rumours of a change of management were firmly rebuffed by Sergio Marchionne at the last race weekend.

Williams

The twisty track has not played to the strengths of their chassis in recent seasons. This may make it a struggle for the FW38s to make it into the points on Sunday.

The team tested a radical rear wing setup designed to learn more about the characteristics of their car in an attempt to solve their downforce issues but this work will is not expected to reap pay benefits until 2017.

Force India

There were mixed fortunes for Force India in Spain with Sergio Perez taking a good points haul while Hulkenberg’s challenge went up in flames after.

Last year the team struggled with early season cash flow issues and an outdated chassis, but managed to take home points in Monaco, one of the few occasions they were able to do so before the vastly superior b-spec chassis was introduced at Silverstone.

Red Bull

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Circuit de Catalunya, 2016
Verstappen will be a centre of attention
Max Verstappen’s Spanish Grand Prix thrust him into the limelight the world will be watching this weekend to see if he can sustain his momentum.

Daniel Ricciardo is undoubtedly going to look back at that race as one slipped from his grasp, with an seemingly correct strategy call ultimately costing him victory. If he is to assert his position as team leader he could do a lot worse than repeating his sensational qualifying effort from Spain around the streets of Monaco.

Could Red Bull win in a straight fight with Mercedes this weekend? The addition of an upgraded Renault power unit upgrade to their superb chassis may tip the balance. However they are only expected to have one example of the new engine.

Renault

Renault’s highly anticipated new specification power unit represents a good chance of improvement for the French team.

The reported increased driveability will be especially important around the tricky Monaco circuit, but the effects of the increase in power will bear more fruit down the long straights at the next round of the championship in Montreal.

Toro Rosso

Daniil Kvyat could barely have contemplated a worse outcome for the Spanish Grand Prix, with the car that was his only days before taking a sensational victory in the hands of his successor. Matters were made worse by being comprehensively beaten by Carlos Sainz in qualifying and through the race, just scraping into the points in the final laps.

He now needs to shine more than ever and there is no better place to do so than the tough Monaco streets. Unfortunately for him new team mate Carlos Sainz Jnr seems to be driving better than ever.

Sauber

While the Swiss team waits for news of financial , some upgrades are in the pipeline. But a lack of funding has hampered the manufacturing progress and until new backing is agreed this sad situation will inevitably continue.

Unpredictable Monaco could be the venue which brings some long-awaited good news – whether off the track or on it.

McLaren

In 2015 Jenson Button took the first points for the revived McLaren-Honda partnership in Monaco. Then as now the twisty nature of the street circuit should mask their power deficit.

Eric Boullier made headline-grabbing remarks about the team challenging Ferrari this weekend which, if they are born out, will surely consistute their best performance of the past two seasons.

Manor

Monaco holds bittersweet memories for the Manor team with their only points scored to date taken here by Jules Bianchi with a stunning drive in 2014.

It will take an equally impressive performance to equal that feat this weekend, as the car’s weakness was demonstrated by a lonely race at the back of the field in Spain. The two drivers have been close so far and can only use the other other as a yard-stick, but a pattern has started to develop with Wehrlein finishing ahead of Haryanto in every race they have both reached the end.

Haas

Esteban Gutierrez had his best result of the season in Spain, running as high as eighth at one stage.

Reliability is still an issue and became an issue on Grosjean’s car during the race. As long as they can make the chequered flag in Monaco they have a decent chance of a mid-table finish. But once again they will be relying on Grosjena’s experience and pace to make the difference.

2016 driver form

DriverGrid averageRace averageRace bestRace worstClassified
Lewis Hamilton7.003.50274/5
Nico Rosberg1.601.00114/5
Sebastian Vettel4.602.67233/4
Kimi Raikkonen3.803.00254/5
Felipe Massa9.006.40585/5
Valtteri Bottas7.207.204105/5
Daniel Ricciardo4.605.404115/5
Daniil Kvyat12.008.753154/5
Nico Hulkenberg11.0012.337153/5
Sergio Perez9.8011.207165/5
Kevin Magnussen17.0012.407175/5
Jolyon Palmer17.2014.7511224/4
Max Verstappen7.406.251104/5
Carlos Sainz Jnr9.009.006124/5
Marcus Ericsson17.6013.5012164/5
Felipe Nasr18.6015.8014205/5
Fernando Alonso11.509.006122/4
Jenson Button12.4011.509144/5
Pascal Wehrlein19.8016.2013185/5
Rio Haryanto21.0018.3317213/5
Romain Grosjean14.209.505194/5
Esteban Gutierrez16.6014.0011173/5
Stoffel Vandoorne12.0010.0010101/1

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Who do you think will be the team to beat in the Monaco Grand Prix? Have your say below.

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Author information

Chris Turner
Being pelted by rain on his first visit to an F1 race at the 1998 British Grand Prix wasn't enough to dim Chris's passion...

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12 comments on “2016 Monaco Grand Prix team-by-team preview”

  1. ColdFly F1 (@)
    25th May 2016, 12:51

    Monaco according to the drivers: Monaco is such a special place (FA). I love this track (JB), one of the purest thrills (LH) – the ultimate driver’s track (NR). Monaco is one of the best weeks (NH), my favourite circuit of the year (SP); I love it! (JP) Monaco is really cool (DR), the circuit is awesome (KM), I always enjoy racing street circuits like Monaco (MV). Monaco is special (RG), the most iconic race on the calendar (EG). Monaco is a unique Grand Prix (B), I’m really looking forward to an amazing weekend (FM). Turns 3 and 4 are probably the most glamorous corners of the championship (CS), they are nice and fast (DK). The Monaco Grand Prix is one of the best races (FN), has a long tradition which makes it to one of the most remarkable races in the Formula One season (ME).

    I’m also looking forward to this weekend.

    1. The Blade Runner (@)
      25th May 2016, 13:00

      @coldfly

      As always, I’m really looking forward to qualifying. For the race itself, we can only hope for some drama that prevents the outcome from being a foregone conclusion.

      1. Given that it looks quite likely to be wet, you might get a more mixed race on Sunday @thebladerunner

    2. It’s a completely unique experience, the atmosphere and sense of occasion is incredible and this race creates opportunities like no other (RH)
      I’m also looking for lot of front row cars piling up on wet track.

  2. There are a lot of questions coming into this race:
    Was Max Verstappens performance a one off?
    Can Red Bull challenge Ferrari and push Mercedes?
    Is Sainz on top form or is Kvyat stepping up?
    Can Manor and Sauber score points?

    But I reckon this will be, as always, a great weekend, not necessarily for the racing, but atmosphere and driver skill. The weather being bad is only going to highlight the skills on display. A proper street circuit needs to have the correct expectations, and we have seen it before in Monaco where it will surprise and shock us.

    Let’s hope it’s a good one!

    1. Was Max Verstappens performance a one off? No
      Can Red Bull challenge Ferrari and push Mercedes? RB ahead of Ferrari, miles behind Mercedes.
      Is Sainz on top form or is Kvyat stepping up? Sainz, easy.
      Can Manor and Sauber score points? Nope.

      @captainpie I believe that covers it.

      1. its amazing the rubbish that people tell themselves. Red Bull is not on par with Ferrari. we heard the same nonsense from Red bull when Ferrari messed up qualifying in China. Ferrari then proceeded to destroy red bull even after falling to 15th after the first lap accident.
        then we go to Barcelona.. Ferrari messed up again in qualy with their setup and as usual a faster car behind cannot pass in Barcelona… add to that we have red bull saying they found 5 tenths with their engine upgrade and presto now red bull is finishing ahead of Ferrari and challenging mercedes… really?
        Ferrari had a 0.92 gap to red bull in australian qualy
        Ferrai had a 0.85 gap in bahrain qualifying
        in china with both ferraris obviously screwing up in qualy the gap red bull produced was 0.055
        in Spain OBVIOUS messup with setup and red bull was 0.433 ahead in qualy
        so when all is normal Ferrari has on average 0.88 advantage over red bull… what exactly will that 5 tenths do for red bull?
        add to that the fact that Ferrari has been running so far this year with a turbocharger they cannot run at full RPM… that fix comes in canada….

        1. ‘its amazing the rubbish that people tell themselves’

          Oh the irony…

    2. As for Verstappen, I think its more a question of whether he will be in control (and not like many drivers we have seen getting a bit overenthusiastic after a successfull race or two and bin it in the first lap).

      He already knows from last year that you have to take a step back at times and just get to the finish. I do think it will be interesting to see whether Kvyat can make progress vs Sainz, so far Sainz seems to be in a good spot. And Sauber and/or Manor getting pionts would depend on a lot of other drivers finding creative ways not to finish the race I guess.

  3. Michael Brown (@)
    25th May 2016, 16:55

    Rosberg’s three wins have all been under controversial circumstances.

    2013: Mercedes’ secret test. How did they escape repercussions? Probably Brawn.
    2014: Qualifying controversy
    2015: Hamilton’s pit stop loses him the race

    1. Rosberg won that first race fair and square @mbr-9, and off course the sunday in 2014 was also clearly his (but yeah, that qualifying).

      1. Michael Brown (@)
        27th May 2016, 1:12

        just stating that there was controversy in those years, @bascb , even if it wasn’t Rosberg who caused it.

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