The race needs no introduction. Held round the streets of the Principality, the track passes the famous Sainte Devote, Casino, Grand Hotel and Swimming Pool before rounding the Rascasse.
‘We consider it our ‘home’ race in the absence of the French Grand Prix. We have a long-standing relationship with the ACM (Automobile Club de Monaco); the Formula Renault 2.0 runs alongside us in F1 and we have several high-level guests joining us. Naturally we hope to be able to put on a good show in this setting,’ Renault Sport Racing managing director Cyril Abiteboul surmises.
Some further technical updates will help the team in Monaco. New upgrades to the power unit will be introduced following successful testing in Barcelona, plus various mechanical and aero steps. Of primary importance, however, is giving the driver confidence in the car. ‘Monaco’s less about what’s needed from the car, it’s more about what’s needed from the driver who needs to keep it on the track, keep away from the walls and let the circuit get faster and faster,’ adds chief technical officer, Bob Bell.
Drivers Jolyon Palmer and Kevin Magnussen agree. Jolyon has won twice in Monaco in GP2, and cannot wait to get on track in the R.S.16. ‘As a race track it’s the craziest one I’ve ever driven, not just because it’s a street course: it’s a proper road that’s used by the public every day and it wasn’t designed to be a race track. It presents a really exacting challenge to deliver a fast lap time as you need to be practically brushing the walls everywhere. To put everything together and to win in Monaco is the biggest challenge.’
Kevin has raced in Monaco in F1 but also in World Series by Renault. Unfortunately he has yet to get the results to do justice to the race pace he has shown: ‘My first experience of driving Monaco was in a World Series by Renault car and I was so excited. It’s just awesome – there’s no other word – as it amazes you how narrow it is and busy you are over the course of a lap. I felt like I knew it so well from watching Formula 1 on television so many times before driving it myself, but there’s nothing like driving Monaco. I’ve always been fast there but I haven’t had the results to show it. The best is yet to come!’