Monaco Grand Prix: PreviewMay 24, 2022
Haas F1 Team is returning to the streets with the Circuit de Monaco preparing to host Round 7 of the 2022 FIA Formula 1 World Championship, the Monaco Grand Prix.
The Monaco Grand Prix is one of motorsport’s oldest events, having first run in 1929, and in 1950 it was part of Formula 1’s inaugural World Championship season. It has been absent from the schedule on only four occasions during Formula 1’s 72-year history.
Monaco’s prestige is heightened by its demanding layout and desirable location, with the circuit winding itself around the narrow streets of Monaco’s Principality, perched along the jaw-dropping French Riviera. The Circuit de Monaco remains largely recognizable to the layout first run 93 years ago, with the 3.3km track passing by landmarks such as the Hotel de Paris, Casino de Monte-Carlo and iconic Port Hercule, in which float gargantuan nautical creations.
It is a circuit where track position and strategy are both vitally important, given that passing is extremely tough, while the barriers can quickly bite for any driver who oversteps the limit. While the Circuit de Monaco is the shortest, and slowest, on the current calendar it is among the most frenetic and awe-inspiring for those tasked with navigating Formula 1 machinery around its streets.
It is a challenge eagerly awaiting Haas F1 Team drivers Kevin Magnussen and Mick Schumacher. Magnussen has entered five Monaco grands prix (2014, 2016-19), twice finishing in the points, while Schumacher picked up his first experience of the Principality’s Formula 1 race in 2021, having previously run Formula 2’s round in 2019.
In a change from the long-held tradition, when practice took place on Thursday ahead of a rest day on Friday, the Monaco Grand Prix this year falls in line with other events for the first time. Track activity will now commence on Friday, with qualifying Saturday and the 78-lap race Sunday.
Guenther Steiner, Team Principal of Haas F1 Team
The Spanish Grand Prix saw both Haas cars start in the top 10 but fail to score points by the checkered flag. What lessons does the team take away from such situations?
“Obviously we took away some disappointment. We did a few things which weren’t perfect, but we have a lot of work to do. We can’t do anything about Kevin’s Turn 4 incident, you can’t learn a lot there and what we tried was something hoping that the safety car would come out. With Mick, we need to see why we ended up with the strategy we chose and what we can do to make it better for the future. I’m not jumping to conclusions, it wasn’t completely wrong as there were a lot of unknowns, especially in his first stint with the new tires where we lost a lot of positions there, so we have to analyze that before coming to a conclusion.”
Following the first race with many of the grid running upgraded packages in Spain, what’s your assessment of who’s found pace and where do you think Haas currently ranks in the line-up?
“It’s very difficult to judge who found pace but the obvious ones were Mercedes and Alfa Romeo. With the others, I don’t know how much pace they found and it’s a one-off race with very strange conditions – it was very hot, very unusual for Spain – so we have to wait a few races to find that one out. We obviously chose not to put upgrades on but we made our car go quicker, at least in qualifying, so I think we’ve found something in the set-up. We have still got something in the car which we haven’t unleashed so let’s work a little more on that, but we made a very good step in Spain. We are in the midfield but the midfield this year, it depends on the race. In some races one car is good, and in others, somebody else. I think that is very interesting and it’s how it should be – it mixes up the field.”
We now move to Monaco for Round 7 of the 2022 FIA Formula 1 World Championship. When discussing the headline events that the calendar now includes, where does Monaco sit with you? Is it still the jewel in the crown of the sport or do you expect newer events to ramp up the pressure on established circuits?
“Monaco is obviously a classic, and it has been there forever. It’s one where we enjoy going to as well but there are a lot of events that are going in different directions. I always say, different directions are better because then fans can look forward to different specialties. Monaco is one of those specialties in the calendar.”
This will be the first season that the Monaco Grand Prix follows a standard three-day event format, as previously practice sessions took place on Thursday with Friday serving as a ‘day off’. What impact, if any, does that make to preparations – especially now on a back-to-back with the Spanish GP?
“If we had stuck to the old way, to run on Thursday and have the Friday off, it wouldn’t have worked with the back-to-back, or it would’ve been very difficult. With having a 22-race calendar this year, it would be very difficult to add another date to the schedule for the people working there. I think the decision was the right one, for us we just get normality, and we don’t come in late on Thursday because we are not used to that. I think it had to be done and there will be no big changes – no one will remember that we practiced on Thursday and not on Friday.”