Rubens Barrichello can't wait for the Monaco Grand Prix next weekend, an event he regards as one of the best on the FIA Formula 1 World Championship calendar.

Rubens made his debut in a Formula 1 car at Monte Carlo back in 1993 with Jordan, when he finished ninth overall. Since then he has had some notable resulting including finishing second with Stewart Grand Prix in 1997, as well as also finishing on the podium with Ferrari in 2000, 2001 and 2004.

Last year he finished fourth after starting from fifth and while a similar result this time out looks unlikely, given the current pace of the RA107, that doesn't mean Rubens isn't looking forward to racing at the Principality.

"Like most drivers, Monaco is one of my favourite races and I have some fantastic memories as I have finished on the podium four times there. Monaco is unique in many ways and it certainly has a special place in F1 history," he explained. "I particularly enjoy qualifying at Monaco, it's one of the biggest challenges of the year and so important to get right.

"Overtaking is very difficult so you have to qualify well and get a good grid position. Strategy is also crucial in Monaco as the pit-stops can help you gain track position."

As for how testing went this week at Paul Ricard, Rubens reckoned it was definitely positive. Indeed he managed over 150 laps during his running on days two and three, concentrating not only on preparations for Monte Carlo, but also for the events at Montreal and Indianapolis too.

"It was good to go back to Paul Ricard as I have not driven there since an Opel Lotus race in 1990 and then one F1 test on the old circuit back in 1992. So the first day for me was about learning the circuit and then again on Wednesday when the configuration changed," he added.

"It has been a good test where we have definitely made some progress, especially on the aero side.

"We are slowly addressing our problems and I am hopeful of an improved performance over the next three grand's prix."

Barrichello's team-mate, Jenson Button meanwhile agrees that the event is one of the most exciting of the year: "Monaco is the most famous race of all, where all the glitz and glamour of Formula 1 is on display, and there is no question that it is a very special place over the race weekend," he continued.

"It's a very different race from any other on the calendar with so much history and it means even more to me as I live in Monaco, so it is one of my home races.

"Yet ironically the qualities which make it so appealing also make it a frustrating weekend for the teams and drivers. It's unbelievably busy and getting around can be just impossible! When I'm not in the paddock, I'll be getting out of the Principality and up into the hills behind the action to relax and give myself some space.

"The circuit itself is very tight and twisty and you can really feel the speed of the car when the barriers are so close to you. The whole lap is one non-stop challenge and you just have to get your head down and keep focused. You have to keep the car out of the barriers but not worry too much about getting a few scrapes during the race. The absolute key to a really quick lap is being uninhibited and not letting the barriers intimidate you. This is a circuit that rewards precision like no other.

"Qualifying is crucial for getting the best grid position possible and then you have to make a good start in the race and do your overtaking there otherwise passing is almost impossible. You also need the right pit-stop strategy which can make all the difference to the outcome of your race. Good mechanical grip from the car is a fundamental requirement, coupled with as much downforce as possible.

"And finally it's a fantastic race for the fans and one of the only opportunities for them to get so close to the action and the noise of F1."



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