Gossip in Monaco paddock explains logistical headache for two F1 teams

Crash.net recaps all of the news, updates and tidbits of information from the paddock after Thursday’s media sessions ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix…

The Monaco Grand Prix
The Monaco Grand Prix

Disrupted start for two F1 teams

There was an unwelcome distraction for McLaren and Alpine on Thursday as a tight turnaround from Imola and subsequent delays led to struggles setting up their motorhomes in the Monaco paddock. Both structures were still being worked on as the day’s activities got underway, with McLaren’s TeamHub resembling a skeleton for much of Thursday. As a result, Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri’s media briefings were moved to the TV pen. 

Due to the restrictive nature of the Monaco paddock, and unlike at every other European race, a unique build order is implemented. As such, teams can only start setting up when the team in front is ready. Sources have informed Crash.net that McLaren were particularly late arriving and slow to set-up, which had knock-on impacts for rival teams including Alpine.

Red Bull downplay their chances 

Sergio Perez has labelled Ferrari and McLaren as favourites for the Monaco weekend, stating “they will be very hard to beat”. The Mexican expects “other teams to be a surprise” given the small margins seen in qualifying so far this year. Teammate and world championship leader Max Verstappen is also predicting a difficult weekend for Red Bull.

Sainz coy on Mercedes rumours

Carlos Sainz refused to confirm or deny reports suggesting Mercedes are no longer an option for him in 2025. The outgoing Ferrari driver insists he hasn’t set any deadlines for a decision but acknowledged that “everyone depends on everyone” amid the current state of play in the market. However, Sainz is determined to not let the best opportunity for a competitive drive slip through his fingers.

Positive noises from Bottas

Valtteri Bottas revealed he is not “just talking to one team” about a drive for 2025 but has a “clear priority”. While the Finn would not give up any more information, he is believed to be keen on a move to Williams, where he would reunite with former Mercedes head of strategy James Vowles, who he was spotted speaking to in the Williams motorhome last week in Imola. 

Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Sauber. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 7, Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Imola, Italy, Qualifying
Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Sauber. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 7, Emilia…

Meanwhile, the under-pressure Logan Sargeant has admitted he can’t control the timing over his future. But the American says he feels “extremely” close to performing at required level needed to retain his Williams seat.

Which is more likely for Hamilton?

Asked whether learning Italian ahead of his Ferrari switch or getting on the podium is more likely this year, Lewis Hamilton jokingly responded: “Neither”. Hamilton said “learning Italian will probably be the hardest” but then backtracked, adding: “At the moment, I think getting to the podium is the less likely one.”

Monaco is still special 

Daniel Ricciardo has provided a fascinating insight into the feeling of driving an F1 car around the streets of Monte Carlo. “It’s so awesomely scary and beautiful and insane and intense that it's like one of life's greatest experiences, you know what I mean? It's hard to match a feeling like that. And I'm really excited to get that opportunity again. You know, that's the coolest thing,” he said.

Fernando Alonso said the Monaco Grand Prix is “one of the best moments of the season” until race day. “The whole weekend is very special,” he explained. "Maybe only Sunday is the bad day, let’s call it. There’s not much you can do [about that]. Could be a little bit boring as well, you just need to bring the car home and things like that. Until Sunday the practice sessions are very interesting.” There have been questions about Monaco’s place on the calendar and whether F1 has outgrown the venue in recent years.

The F1 Oscars

On the same weekend of the 24th Film Festival of Cannes, some F1 drivers’ favourite movies were revealed in Thursday’s press conference. 

Charles Leclerc’s is Harry Potter, Esteban Ocon said The Dark Knight Rises, George Russell picked Casino Royale, Max Verstappen went with either Wolff of Wall Street or The Hangover, Yuki Tsunoda said Transporter and Alex Albon picked The Grand Budapest Hotel.

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