What looks easy in terms of geography is logistically an extreme challenge for the teams – to dismantle the garages and motorhomes, just a couple hours after the finish of the Spanish Grand Prix, pack everything up and be set up in the Principality of Monaco’s paddock for next weekend’s prestigious race.
Two particular reasons make the move especially stressful for the teams. One is the fact that in Monaco the programme starts on Wednesday instead of Thursday, the other challenge is provided by the tight confines of the paddock.. Nevertheless the Sauber F1 Team and its drivers, Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Pérez, are very much looking forward to the most famous race of the season.
Kamui Kobayashi (car number 16): “I think Monaco is a very nice circuit and it is also very exciting to be racing there. Last year it was a very difficult race for us, but I think this year it is going to be different. We have been working a lot on our car for the slow corners, and I hope we have a good performance there. I have raced there three times before - twice in GP2 and then for the first time in Formula One last year. I think it is still going to be very hard to overtake, but maybe there will now be a chance with the rear wing system. But we never know, and it may also be risky. I think it helps if you are a driver living there, and you also get tax relief!”
Sergio Pérez (car number 17): “I love that tight street circuit - it is one of my favourites. Last year I won the GP2 feature race there and now I can’t wait to get my first Monaco Grand Prix under my belt. It will be a very special weekend for me. It is the race I was waiting for and on this circuit a driver can make a bigger difference than on others. The atmosphere is great and, of course, it is the Grand Prix every driver wants to win in his career.”
James Key, Technical Director: “It is always a great event to go to with such a unique and historical race, and it is certainly a special feeling when you go there. We will bring a few new aerodynamic and mechanical parts to the race, in the hope we can improve our car particularly for the nature of Monaco, which is high downforce and quite a big dependence on mechanical grip. We will have some parts, in some cases specifically for that race, and in others just general developments which will go on the car in Monaco.
“I think the things to watch out for will obviously be the tyres. It is the first time this season we will be running the super soft tyre. We ran it in winter testing, but that was in Barcelona and Jerez, not in Monaco with a very slow speed track and possibly high track temperatures. We will have to re-learn a litte bit about how the super soft tyre is working, but certainly in winter testing it was quite a good tyre. It will be interesting to see how that lasts and how its degradation is. Then the soft tyre is the prime tyre which we are fairly familiar with, so there will be a bit of learning on that. I think from a driver point of view we know both of ours are fairly strong at Monaco. Sergio won there last year in GP2, so I am sure he is perhaps quietly confident about going back there after that performance. I think fundamentally it is going to be a different race, as it is not at all like the tracks we have been on. We will see how we go, but providing we do our homework and the new parts work we will continue to try and get top ten positions.”