Start, Monaco Grand Prix, 2001

Raikkonen: Driving skill counts for less at modern Monaco

2019 Monaco Grand Prix

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Kimi Raikkonen believes driving ability makes less of a difference in the Monaco Grand Prix than it did when he first raced at the track.

The narrow street circuit has been eased and barriers moved back in several places since Raikkonen contested his first race at Monaco for Sauber in 2001 (pictured).

“It’s not the same Monaco that I drove the first time,” said the Alfa Romeo driver. “It was much more tricky. There was Armco inside turn one, the Swimming Pool was a lot tighter, the last part was a lot tighter. It has changed a lot from that.”

Raikkonen, who will begin his 300th grand prix weekend tomorrow, believes the Monte-Carlo circuit has become “more a traditional race track” over the years.

“OK, it’s narrower, there is Armco, but it has evolved a lot since the first time I was here. In the past it probably used to be a bit that you could make a bigger difference.

“Also with the cars, a long time ago: A good car goes well here, a bad car, it doesn’t matter who drives it, it’s not going to go suddenly fastest and that’s the fact. The car still plays a massive role.”

Modern Monaco could even amplify the difference between cars, Raikkonen argued. “In many ways in a place like this it can be [an] even bigger [difference] because if things are not right here you cannot push. You can push, but you end up in a wall. You choose from those two but obviously it’s a balancing act.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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10 comments on “Raikkonen: Driving skill counts for less at modern Monaco”

  1. Jonathan Parkin
    22nd May 2019, 21:04

    I hate to say this but I’m afraid he’s right. The challenge of Monaco started to decline after the 2002 race when they opened up the first part of La Rascasse. Then in recent years it seemed to accelerate with more kerbs being put into the circuit and the adverse cambers being removed for instance. I don’t think the bump between Casino and Mirabeau exists anymore either does it?

    1. I think it’s still there.

    2. It’s still there and you couldn’t even remove it if you want. It’s not a bump, it’s a street going up. https://bit.ly/2WZLH0T

  2. Also… not the same Kimi who was from 2001 until now, known as a driver of few words. Who is this loquacious guy? ;-)

    While the layout was been widened in places, the post-2017 cars are fatter, heavier, longer and uglier than those quaint little Casino Square runabouts of a bygone era.

    1. Kimi in the same sauber, nothing has changed :p

  3. Well… of course he knows what he’s talking about being that he’s a driver, and I’m a spectator, but even after the track was opened up in those tricky places, and the bumps were mostly ironed out, the pole lap still looked ridiculous. I think Trulli’s pole lap in 2004 was the best lap I’ve ever seen live, and I often watch that onboard. And you clearly see them, back in those days, reacting to the bumps and kerbs with violence because of the lack of (or less powerful) power steering. These days you see any lap in any track and it’s like using one of those cheap force feedback wheels in your simulator: they react to the car’s movement and slides but the kerbs hardly take their hands off the wheel like they used to.

    That’s also why Inycar onboards look so spectacular even today. It’s like they are really holding the steering wheel with their lives, not just giving the inputs.

  4. Sadly, I can’t see Kimi getting in the points in his Alfa on this track, UNLESS there are massive errors galore in the midfield….

  5. He’s correct and as a result, there’s fewer wrecks and less unpredictability.

  6. Even the Formula E guys the other week were calling Monaco one of the widest street tracks these days!

    1. @eurobrun
      Compared to the chicane festooned tracks that Formula E usually races at, Monaco must seem like Avus!

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