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Mastering Monte Carlo with Lotus F1
18 May 2013
The first corner – Sainte Devote – is very tight and has been the scene of many incidents over the years. The drivers need to keep their wits about them to avoid any drama.
Turns 4 + 5:
The bumpy track between turns four and five [Casino / Mirabeau] requires drivers to modify their line to avoid unduly unsettling their car.
As the slowest corner on the circuit – and indeed the entire season – suspension and steering modifications must be made to the car just to make it through this turn.
Taken flat out, the tunnel is the fastest part of the track. The contrast of natural, artificial, then natural light is a big challenge for the drivers. Track temperature is also different from the rest of the circuit.
Exiting the tunnel into the chicane is the scene of many out-braking manoeuvres. This is a real opportunity to pressurise the car ahead, but also a place where mistakes are often seen.
The Swimming Pool – 'La Piscine' – is entered very quickly, before hard braking for turn fifteen.
Turn eighteen – La Rascasse – is the second slowest part of the circuit, with the cars running very close to the inside wall.
Start / Finish Straight:
With so few overtaking opportunities around the lap, a good exit from the final corner – Anthony Noghes – is essential leading on to the start / finish straight. There are high traction demands here.
Front downforce is key. Teams tend to run maximum front wing with more balance to the front thanks to the understeer inducing characteristics of the circuit.
We will have a Monaco-specific 'big' rear wing to gain more downforce at the lower overall speeds seen here.
Monaco has the greatest undulations relative to any circuit on the calendar meaning a soft car is required; allowing the tyres to retain contact with the tarmac as much as possible. This means softer roll bars and springs; the aim being to maximise mechanical grip without losing too much aerodynamic grip.
Brakes are not a big concern. The low speed layout means drivers are not braking as significantly as they would from a long straight into a first gear corner, and it's also a shorter race than most so wear is not an issue. Monitoring temperatures is essential as there aren't any real high speed sections to cool the brakes, and the relentless stop / start nature can compound heat generation. The brake calipers tend to run hotter in Monaco than any other track, so more attention is paid to them than normal.
This race will see Pirelli's red marked supersoft tyre appear for just the second time this season – Australia being the first – alongside the soft compound. Tyre wear is very low here due to the smooth track surface and low speed layout.
An engine with very good response is essential, with drivability rather than ultimate power being the goal. You'll never go slower with more power, but it's the least power sensitive circuit of the year. The engine spends a relatively short amount of time at full throttle so the challenge is to deliver torque through the lower rev limits of the engine. With Monaco being such a bumpy street track, the engine also needs a good limiter setting so it is capable of digesting all the bumps. Finally, fuel consumption needs to be calculated very accurately, as the track gets quicker and quicker over the weekend.
Feature provided by the Lotus F1 Team
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