Monaco Grand Prix 2014 Preview: Start Time, TV Info, Weather, Schedule, Odds
The 2014 Formula One Monaco Grand Prix takes place on Sunday.
It will be the 61st time the race has formed a part of the F1 calendar, and the venue will be—as always—the Circuit de Monaco.
This is the world championship's showpiece event, the jewel in the F1 crown. Though the modern sport outgrew Monaco many years ago, the race endures and shows no sign of ever going away.
Lewis Hamilton goes into the weekend hoping for a fifth successive win, while teammate Nico Rosberg will be looking to stop him.
But with so few straights, the power advantage of their Mercedes cars may be lessened. It will take only the smallest of slip-ups to hand victory to the likes of Red Bull or Ferrari.
Read on for a full preview of the weekend, including current standings, circuit guide, tyre and DRS information, weather forecast, odds and session and TV times.
Lewis Hamilton leads the way after four consecutive wins, but only has a three-point cushion over teammate Nico Rosberg.
Fernando Alonso is hanging on to third, just ahead of the Red Bulls.
The current Top 10 are:
|4||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull||45|
|5||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||39|
|6||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India||37|
|10||Sergio Perez||Force India||20|
In the constructors' championship, Mercedes have an absurdly huge 113 point lead over second-placed Red Bull.
Three teams are yet to score. The current standings are:
Circuit De Monaco Track Guide
The Circuit de Monaco is the shortest and slowest on the F1 calendar, and also the least forgiving.
Barriers line the route and run-off areas are limited to a few corners. A mistake often means the end of a race, or at the very least a costly visit to the pits for repairs.
Monaco is frequently criticised by a number of fans for producing processional races. Overtaking is almost impossible, and in the modern era of tyre-saving it's common to see the cars circulating in long trains, several seconds shy of their true pace.
But others consider that a small price to pay for what is, without question, a wonderfully unique occasion in the world of motorsports.
Turns 1 and 2
A lap begins with a short run down Boulevard Albert 1er towards the St. Devote (Turn 1). Named after Monaco's patron saint, this tight right-hander is home to a small roundabout when F1 isn't in town.
The roundabout used to stay in place and dramatically reduced visibility and space on the inside; it now gets removed and put back after the race.
But it's still extremely easy to take too much speed into the corner and hit the barrier at the exit.
The preceding straight and the braking zone for Turn 1 count as one of Monaco's best overtaking opportunities, but you'll be lucky to see a single pass for position here in the race.
The cars then stream uphill through a series of slight left and right curves. None are really corners and the drivers go flat-out as if it was a straight, but Turn 2 (Beau Rivage, "beautiful shore") is one of them.
Turns 3 and 4
At the top of the hill the drivers brake and turn in to the long and beautiful Massanet (Turn 3). The track glides uphill until around halfway through the turn, then drops downhill.
In-car camera shots going around this this medium-speed left-hander are among the best the F1 calendar has to offer.
Immediately after the exit comes Turn 4, Casino Square (named after its location). The apex sits in a slight dip which helps the drivers flick the car over the kerbing on the inside and out onto a short straight.
Rather than stay left, the drivers continue to turn the wheel and move across to the right-hand side of the track to avoid F1's biggest bump. They then drift back to the left as they head downhill for the next corner.
Turns 5, 6, 7 and 8
That corner is Mirabeau (Turn 5), or more precisely Mirabeau Haute ("High Mirabeau"). Overtaking into here is more a thing of the past than of the present, but an especially brave or foolish driver might give it a go.
The drivers hug the kerb on the inside as the track starts to drop steeply downhill. At the exit they give the throttle a brief squeeze, before braking again for the slowest and most frequently renamed corner on the F1 calendar, the left-hand Fairmont Hotel hairpin (Turn 6).
Many fans, drivers and commentators will refer to his as Loews, one of its former names. In the past, it has also been called the Grand Hotel hairpin, Sun Casino hairpin and Station hairpin.
Overtaking here is possible, especially when a rival is being slowed by a queue of cars.
Another quick throttle-squirt later, it's the slow right-hander of Turn 7. You may hear this referred to as the first half of a double right called Portier, but the proper name appears to be Mirabeau Bas ("Low Mirabeau").
Portier itself is Turn 8, a tight, slow and tricky right-hander which leads out onto the waterfront and into the tunnel. A good exit from here is important, because the longest full-throttle section of the lap follows.
Turns 9, 10 and 11
The cars accelerate out of Portier into one of Monaco's many unique features, the tunnel under the Fairmont Hotel. It sweeps through a long and fast right-hander (Turn 9) before spitting the cars out onto the waterfront.
It's incredibly bumpy here as the track dives downhill towards the braking zone for the Nouvelle Chicane (Turns 10 and 11).
This left-right chicane often presents the best overtaking opportunity of the lap, but a lot of bravery and a compliant rival is usually required because the chicane seems to be designed to discourage passing.
The barrier on the left is right up against the track, and the chicane itself is so tight and narrow that it's nigh-on impossible for two cars to run side-by-side through it.
So if a rival gets inside him, a driver usually finds that the only way to avoid a collision is to cut the chicane.
It leads out onto a short straight.
Turns 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16
At the end of the straight is the medium-speed left of Tabac (Turn 12). This is without question one of the toughest corners Monaco has to offer.
Absolute precision is required to hit the tiny apex on the inside, before the corner opens out a bit at the exit.
The track never really straightens out before the first half the Piscine complex. This section was added in the 1970s after the construction of the Rainier III Nautical Stadium.
Though the whole complex (Turns 13-16) is often simply called Piscine ("swimming pool" in French), Turn 13 is officially called Chiron, after Monegasque racing driver Louis.
The first chicane, a left-right, is taken at medium-speed and the cars always look like they're going too quickly. Occasionally someone will lose it on the exit and slam hard into the barriers on the outside.
But if a driver did get through safely, he has to brake hard for the second part, which comes a little over 50 metres after the exit of the first. This one is a right-left chicane, and much tighter and slower than the first part.
The cars exit onto a short straight.
Turns 17, 18 and 19
Turn 17 used to be much tougher, but it's now little more than a gentle kink to the left. The drivers brake mid-corner for the slow near-hairpin right of Rascasse (Turn 18).
The barrier on the inside has been known to catch the odd rear wheel in the past, sending the car into a spin.
A quick throttle-squirt later it's braking again for the final corner, Antony Noghes (Turn 19). The barriers on the outside squeeze in at the exit and, like those at Rascasse, sometimes claim victims.
The drivers are now back on the pit straight (which isn't straight) for the run to the line.
The pit lane entry is just after Turn 18, and the exit is in two parts.
The speed limiter line is where the pit lane rejoins the track just after the start-finish line, but the drivers must stay inside the painted yellow line until after the exit of Turn 1.
Tyres and DRS
The surface of the Circuit de Monaco is bumpy and slippery, and with speeds so low, degradation is less of an issue than at other tracks.
So Pirelli can safely bring the red-marked supersoft and yellow-marked soft compounds.
The track evolves a lot over the course of the weekend, meaning grip will be much higher on Sunday than it will be at the start of practice.
Everyone is likely to go for a single pit stop. It may not be the quickest way to complete a race distance, but overtaking is extremely difficult at Monaco—track position is king.
Stopping more than once will leave a driver stuck behind slower rivals all afternoon.
There will only be one DRS zone at the Monaco Grand Prix, because there's only one safe place to put it.
The detection point will be between Turns 16 and 17, with the activation point immediately after the final corner. The zone will run the length of the curving pit straight, ending with braking for Turn 1.
But don't expect it to be of much use to anyone unless they have a massive straight-line speed advantage.
Monaco has a "warm-summer" Mediterranean climate. Temperatures rarely rise to excessive levels, and in May the average daily high is just under 20 degrees Celsius.
Rain occurs around once every six May days on average.
The forecast is for probable showers on Thursday (the first two practice sessions are held on Thursdays, not Fridays), but a clear and bright Saturday. The race on Sunday should also be dry, with only the tiniest chance of a light shower.
BBC Weather will have the latest.
Unsurprisingly, Lewis Hamilton (8-11) is favourite for the race win, with Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg (9-4) close behind.
Everyone else is a long way back. The current Top 10 favourites are:
First retirement can be a bit of a lottery in Monaco, but Pastor Maldonado and Marcus Ericsson are slight favourites, both at a best of 12-1.
The lack of run-off means a safety car appearance is considered highly likely—it's 2-9 yes, and 4-1 no.
And a winning margin of fewer than six seconds (3-5) is favourite, with 25 or more seconds a 16-1 outside shot.
All odds taken from Oddschecker and correct at the time of publication.
Session and TV Times
As always, the Monaco Grand Prix weekend will consist of three free practice sessions, qualifying and the race.
But it will be slightly different. In Monaco, the first and second practice session are held on the Thursday prior to the race; everywhere else, it's Friday.
The session times are as follows:
|Practice One||Thursday||10 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.|
|Practice Two||Thursday||2 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.|
|Practice Three||Saturday||11 a.m. - 12 p.m.|
All times are given in Monaco local time (CEST). Formula1.com has a handy one-click tool on its homepage to convert them to your own timezone.
In the United Kingdom, Sky Sports F1 is showing live coverage of all sessions. The times are as follows:
|Session||Day||Sky Show Starts||Session Begins|
|Practice One||Thursday||8:45 a.m.||9 a.m.|
|Practice Two||Thursday||12:45 a.m.||1 p.m.|
|Practice Three||Saturday||9:45 a.m.||10 a.m.|
|Qualifying||Saturday||12 p.m.||1 p.m.|
|Race||Sunday||11:30 a.m.||1 p.m.|
Times in the table above are given in BST.
The BBC are showing highlights of qualifying at 5:25 p.m. on Saturday, and race highlights at 5:05 p.m. on Sunday.
It seems rather silly that UK viewers cannot see the most famous grand prix of them all live without paying for it. Perhaps the details of the rights-sharing deal between Sky and BBC need a good looking at.
In the United States, NBC and NBCSN are showing live coverage of second practice on Thursday (8 a.m. ET on NBCSN), qualifying on Saturday (8 a.m. ET on NBCSN) and the race on Sunday (coverage starts 7:30 a.m. ET on NBC).
Enjoy the weekend!
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