“In my opinion, the two hardest circuits on the calendar are Monaco and Singapore,” reckons Scuderia Ferrari test driver Pedro de la Rosa, talking to Ferrari.com, when Monaco is mentioned. There is no room for error, you must always be on the limit and brush all the walls and barriers without ever losing concentration. For these reasons, all the drivers treat the race with admiration and respect, because here, probably more than at any other track, the driver’s contribution is vital. The mechanical side is no less important however. Suspension parts and the gearbox come under a lot of strain and you need to set the car up with maximum levels of understeer to tackle the many slow corners.
“This year it will be very interesting to see how the drivers tackle the Loews hairpin,” continues Pedro. “Because with one extra gear, they will have to work out whether to take it in first gear or if it will be possible to use second and therefore have a better exit speed.” Experience always plays an important role in Monaco. “It’s a wonderful circuit,” maintains Pedro. “But it’s easy for a driver to get caught out, so you need to be very careful not to damage the car and keep off the barriers, do a perfect lap in qualifying and a race with no mistakes.”
Listening to this explanation it might see easy, but even talking to your engineer on the radio is complicated in Monaco. “There are no straights!” adds Pedro. “So without ever losing concentration, you also have to talk on the radio and even in this area you can tell the difference between a good driver and a brilliant one.”