6. Monaco Grand Prix Circuit


Monaco Circuit 2012

Official name - Circuit de Monaco


Circuit Data

Type                     Street                                 Full Throttle %          45

Direction              Clockwise                           Tyre Wear                High

No of Laps           78                                      Break Wear              High

Lap Length          3.340km/2.075M               Braking per Lap %   22

Race Distance     260.520km/161.887M       Gear Shift /Lap         55

Offset                   0m/0ft                                Pit Lane Loss           26 seconds

Downforce           10/10                                 Fuel / Lap                 1.4L / .031Gi / 0.37Gu


Key  km = Kilometres, M=Miles, m = Meters, Ft= Feet, x:xx.xxx = minutes: seconds.000,

L = Litres, Gi = Gallons Imperial, Gu = Gallons US


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Circuit Performance

Record Pole/Year      1:13.644/2005                     Lap Record/Year        1:14.439/2004

Record Pole By          Kimi Raikkonen (McLaren)   Lap Record By            Michael Schumacher (Ferrari)

Record Pole Speed   163.27km/h / 101.45mph    Lap Record Speed     161.53km/h / 100.37mph

2011 Pole                  1:20.981                              2011 Fastest Lap        1:26.727

2011 Pole By             Mark Webber (Red Bull)       2011 Fastest Lap By   Lewis Hamilton (McLaren)

2011 Pole Speed       148.52km/h / 90.28mph      2011 Lap Speed         138.64km/h / 86.15mph

2011 Winner              Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)   2009 Winner               Jenson Button (Brawn)

2010 Winner              Mark Webber (Red Bull)       2008 Winner               Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari)


The Monaco Grand Prix is a historical event, the first grand prix race was in 1929, which is run in the midst of the glitz and glamour of the main city of Monte Carlo. If a license were applied for today from the FIA, it would not be granted under the existing rules. The short lap length and the substandard race distance would prohibit it and the nonexistent safety standards would make the FIA inspectorate run a mile at the thought of sanctioning a race here. Having said that, it is the most recognized and popular grand prix race on the calendar.


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In the 86 year span there has only been 14 years when a grand prix was not held. Most of them, 9, were during the war years 1939 to 1947. Since the formula one drivers' championship was started in 1950 this circuit has been on the formula one calendar every year except 1952. This was when formula 2 rules applied to the championship and the organisers had a grand prix for sports cars.


This is the slowest average speed circuit, shortest lap distance, shortest race distance and the race with the most laps of the season. Despite this, it is a very technically difficult circuit and demands high stamina and concentration from the drivers. There are 4 290 gear changes during a race which is only surpassed by another street circuit, that in Singapore. The circuit incorporates the slowest corner, turn 6, which is taken at 60km/h (37mph) and one of the fastest, turn 9 through the tunnel, which is taken at 265km/h (165mph).


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Turn 6 presents the teams with an additional problem. The turn is so sharp that the normal steering geometry of a formula one car would not manage this tight a turning circle. A special set of front wishbones and steering mechanism are made for this circuit which give the cars a much tighter turning lock.


Being a street circuit the surface is very slippery at the beginning of the race weekend. This improves through the weekend as more rubber is laid down on the racing line and there is good grip by the end of the race. Unusually the free practice 1 & 2 is held on Thursday instead of Friday. The surface is also very bumpy which requires the cars to ride higher than normal and for the suspension to be softened considerably to allow independent wheel movement.


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The downforce is set to maximum, not to maximize the slow corners which is usual, but to make the car more stable on the bumpy and cambered roads. This high downforce also creates drag which compromises the straight line speed. This is shown in the speed trap which records the lowest speed than that of any other circuit, 280km/h (174mph).


The maximum downforce creates high tire wear. Braking accounts for 22% of the lap time and therefore the brake wear is also high.


As opposed to the grand prix in Spain this circuit demands an engine that provides high power from low revs. A low and close ratio gearbox, which reduces terminal velocity, is also required to provide the low rev traction. Cooling of the engine is also a problem as there are so many slow sections that the engine does not get the usual flow of cooling air over it.


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The DRS, KERS and the fast degrading tyres certainly improved the overtaking. In 2010 there were only 4 on track overtakes in the whole race, despite having three new teams in their first year of racing. Last year there were 28 overtakes. The DRS activation zone was for 300m (984ft) on the start/finish straight. For safety reasons the DRS could not be used in the tunnel during free practice and qualifying.


The tyres for last year's race were the yellow marked soft compound as the primes and the red marked super soft compound as the options. These led to 58 pit stops, 2 x 4, 12 x 3 and 5 x 2. The retirees from the race made up the missing 4 pit stops. In addition to the pit stops most drivers changed their tyres when on the grid under the red flag conditions which occurred with only 6 laps of the race remaining.


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The pit lane and garages pictured on the next page were only made available in 2004. Before that they were temporary and very cramped. They are still cramped but better than before. The land availability for these new pits and garages was made possible by reclaiming land from the harbour. This started in 2003. The circuit was modified to utilise this reclaimed ground leaving space for the pit complex.


There is no timing wall between the pit complex and the race track as there is at all other circuits. The engineers sit in rooms above the garages with their motoring equipment.


Other events likely to be run on the race weekend as was the case in 2011 are -


Porsche Michelin Super Cup


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