Lotus technical director Mike Gascoyne says he feels the F1 newcomers will do 'okay' on the streets of Monaco this weekend as the team takes on the challenge of the street circuit for the first time.
Much of the talk ahead of the weekend has been on the pace of the three new teams and the impact that will have on traffic over the course of the event, but Gascoyne said he felt drivers Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen were ready for the challenges that Monaco will provide.
"Monaco is obviously a unique place,” he said. “I enjoy walking around as you realise what a mad place it is to race cars! Engineering wise it's a major challenge – it's very bumpy with lots of slow corners and qualifying is critical as it's almost impossible to overtake, but I still love it!
“We should do okay here - we're good in the slow speed sectors and both our guys are experienced in dealing with the bumps and the traffic, particularly Jarno whose win here was very special, so all in all I'm looking forward to it.”
Trulli, winner of the race back in 2004, admitted that Monaco would be one of the most challenging events of the season and that maintaining high levels of concentration would be vital if the team was to bring home a finish.
“It's something very special in Monaco,” he said. “Whether you're driving or just walking around, you can almost breathe in how exciting it is. Every driver in the world wants to win here, and I was lucky enough to do so in '04, but the whole experience can be tough – it's important for us to concentrate on the race, and here you're under so much pressure it can be difficult to get the time to think, and concentrate on the actual race, but that's how it is, so we deal with it.
“Getting in a good lap is also a challenge, but if you can manage the traffic it's very satisfying. One of the most important parts of the circuit is through the swimming pool – you change direction at high speed, then brake for the next chicane, which is slow but you still need to get through it quickly. You jump over the kerbs there, not too much or you launch yourself into the wall, but just enough to carry the speed through.
“That's why concentration levels are important – get that right every time and you're ok – if not, you're out.”