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Monaco still the favourite race for drivers

And qualifying has also been changed, so that the cars will now go out in two different groups of 13 cars for 14 minutes each rather than have the entire field rush out and fall over one another, as happened last year to a rather embarrassing degree.

"This is a good move by GP2 because last year was manic with 26 cars as people have to do slow laps to cool down the Pirelli tyres so there is so much traffic," was Palmer's view of the change in qualifying format. "Hopefully this year everyone can have a clean qualifying with half the cars on track."

"I already know this kind of qualifying mode from last year, so it's nothing new for me," said Berthon, who raced here in 2011 in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series. "In my opinion, it is better for Monaco as the traffic management is so important when it comes to setting a good lap time.

"Apart from that, for me as a driver, it doesn't change anything," he added. "The aim is to be at the top of the field, whatever it takes."

GP2 schedule for Monaco

In order to fit around Monaco's unique shifted timetable, the 30-minute practice session for GP2 cars will be held a day earlier than usual on the Thursday at 12 noon local time (11am BST), with the new-look two-part qualifying session following at 4.55pm (3.55pm BST).

The schedule see the 42-lap feature race held on Friday morning at 10.30am (9.30am BST) while the 30-lap sprint race will be held on Saturday afternoon at 4.10pm (3.10pm BST) following the qualifying session for the F1 Grand Prix of Monaco. Coverage of all GP2 sessions will be available in the UK on Sky Sports F1.

The GP3 Series is also undertaking its first-ever Monaco race weekend this year. Practice will be on Thursday at 6.15pm (5.15pm BST), qualifying on Friday morning at 7.40am (6.40am BST) and the first race at 12.30pm (11.30am BST). The second race will be on Saturday at 5.55pm (4.55pm BST).

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Jolyon Palmer (GBR, iSport International) exits the Barcelona sprint race early with a formation lap engine problem at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain. [World Copyright: Charles Coates/GP2 Media Service.]
Jolyon Palmer (GBR, iSport International). [World Copyright: Alastair Staley/GP2 Series Media Service.]
Fabio Onidi will race for Coloni in 2012. [Press credit: Scuderia Coloni Press]
Stefano Coletti (ITA, Scuderia Coloni) resting during day 1 of GP2 Series Pre-Season Testing at Jerez, Spain - Tuesday, February 28, 2012 [World Copyright: Alastair Staley/ GP2 Series Media Service.]
Nathanael Berthon ( FRA, Racing Engineering) during day 1 of GP2 Series Pre-Season Testing at Jerez, Spain - Tuesday, February 28, 2012 [World Copyright: Alastair Staley/ GP2 Series Media Service.]
Romain Grosjean (FRA, Dams) who was among those penalised for causing an accident during the qualifying session. 2011 GP2 Series. Round 3. Monte Carlo, Monaco. 26th May 2011. Thursday Qualifying. [Picture credit: Charles Coates/GP2 Media Service.]
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