Monaco Grand Prix Preview

Monaco Grand Prix, the most prestigious motor race in the world. Read on to preview the 2016 Formula One Grand Prix.

The race around the Principality of Monaco has been a figurehead of Formula One from its inaugural season. With the race forming part of the Triple Crown of Motorsport. Another piece of the crown is also up for grabs this weekend, as the IndyCar Series hits Indianapolis for the 100th running of the Indy 500. Both races will be broadcasted live in the UK, with Hamilton hunting his first win of the F1 season at a track victory was snatched away from him at last year.

One year ago, when Formula One hit Monaco, Lewis Hamilton led the field around the famous streets after claiming pole from rival Rosberg by four tenths of a second. The race too was falling in favour of the Brit, until a strategic error by Mercedes cost Hamilton the win and gifted the lead to Rosberg.

The error of judgment came shortly after the first Virtual Safety Car in F1 history was activated when Max Verstappen sawed into Sainte Devote, crashing into Romain Grosjean as the Toro Rosso driver looked to gain places on fresh rubber late into the race.

Team boss Toto Wolff told the press: “We got our numbers wrong. We thought we had the gap for Lewis to take fresh tyres and come back out in the lead behind the safety car, ahead of Nico and covering off any risk of another competitor taking fresh tyres.”

Rosberg leading Vettel and Hamilton late into the 2015 Monaco Grand Prix. Photo credit: CrazyLenny2

Rosberg leading Vettel and Hamilton late into the 2015 Monaco Grand Prix. Photo credit: CrazyLenny2

With the lead from the restart, Rosberg was able to hold of the challenge Vettel and Hamilton posed as he claimed his third consecutive victory around the streets he grew up surrounded by. Should he claim another win this weekend, he will move onto four victories around Monte Carlo in a row. A record only bettered by Ayrton Senna who claimed victory on six occasions, five of which came between 1989 and 1993.

On the back of a historic Spanish Grand Prix, and the events from last year, Lewis Hamilton may be seeking revenge as the reigning champion continues his dry spell.

With the chance of an improved Tag Heuer badged Renault engine in the back of the Spanish Grand Prix winning Red bull, along with their high-downforce car, the team may present themselves as a challenger for the win yet again. Red Bull too have taken three wins around Monaco in a row, with their streak coming prior to Nico’s dominant spell.

Ferrari too could pose a threat to either constructor. Although the high levels of downforce required to optimally attack the Monaco streets may not play to their strengths, as shown in the final sector of the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya last time out as Raikkonen repeatedly lost time to Verstappen as they fought for the win.

Monaco Grand Prix tunnel - Credit Matthew Riley

The Monaco Grand Prix tunnel. Photo credit Matthew Riley

One of the unique aspects of the Monaco Grand Prix is the use of the tunnel. The challenging short burst through the narrow underpass is an element not replicated at any other circuit, with changing light levels affecting the drivers’ vision as they exit downhill for a heavy braking chicane.

The exit of the tunnel also presents itself as one of the better places to form an overtake as they line the driver ahead up through the tunnel, before diving down the inside at the Nouvelle Chicane. Other prominent places for overtakes are at the first corner, where DRS can aid your move, or at Rascasse where a bold move can allow you to barge your way ahead as Jules Bianchi did back in 2014 as he scored Marussia’s first and only points on Formula One.

This weekend also pays as a great moment to remember the young Frenchman, who lost his life last year following terminal head injuries he suffered in the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix.

Jules Bianchi at the 2014 Silverstone F1 test for Ferrari - Photo copyright: FOTO STUDIO COLOMBO

Jules Bianchi testing for Ferrari at Silverstone, 2014. Photo Credit: FOTO STUDIO

The race which made history last year with the first Virtual Safety Car will make history again this year as Pirelli bring the new, ultrasoft tyres to a race weekend for the first time. The new purple walled tyres are Pirelli’s softest construction and should provide the best levels of grip over the weekend on roads that do not present a great deal of natural grip.

The low levels of grip provided by the track is one of the reasons why teams utilise high-downforce set-ups to force the car onto the track. The teams have also requested high quantities of the new ultrasoft tyres for the weekend, with few requests for soft tyres or supersofts.

Tyre selections for the Monaco Grand Prix

Tyre selections for the Monaco Grand Prix

As mentioned, the 2016 Monaco Grand Prix and the Indy 500 are both broadcasted in the UK live this weekend. With Sky Sports broadcasting Formula One’s event exclusively live, along with GP2 action. While BT Sports broadcasts the action from America.

Wednesday May 25
14:00 – Drivers’ Press Conference – Live
20:30 – F1 Report: Monaco GP Preview

Thursday May 26
08:45 – Monaco GP – Practice One – Live
08:55 – Monaco GP – Practice One – Live (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
11:00 – GP2 Practice – Live
12:45 – Monaco GP – Practice Two – Live
12:55 – Monaco GP – Practice Two – Live (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
15:10 – GP2 Qualifying – Live
16:00 – Team Principals’ Press Conference – Live
16:30pm – The F1 Show – Live

Friday May 27
10:10 – GP2 Feature Race – Live

Saturday May 28
09:45 – Monaco GP – Practice Three – Live
12:00 – Monaco GP – Qualifying – Live
12:55 – Monaco GP – Qualifying – Live (BBC Radio 5 Live)
15:05 – GP2 Sprint Race – Live
17:45 – Monaco GP – Qualifying – Highlights (Channel 4)
19:25 – Ted’s Qualifying Notebook

Sunday May 29
07:05 – Historic Monaco Grand Prix Highlights (Channel 4)
11:30 – The 2016 Monaco GP – Track Parade – Live
12:00 – The 2016 Monaco GP – Pit Lane – Live
13:00 – The 2016 Monaco GP – Race – Live (BBC Radio 5 Live)
13:00 – The 2016 Monaco GP – Race – Live
15:30 – The 2016 Monaco GP – Paddock Live
15:30 – IndyCar Series – Indianapolis 500 (BT Sport 1)
16:15 – Historic Monaco Grand Prix Highlights
17:45 – The 2016 Monaco GP – Race – Highlights (Channel 4)
18:00 – The 2016 Monaco GP – Race – highlights
19:00 – Ted’s Race Notebook

(Times above are Sky Sports F1 unless stated)