Formula One’s premier event, the Monaco Grand Prix, takes place this weekend. The famous street circuit may be one of the shortest tracks of the year, but it’s the most demanding, especially for the driver.

Although the corner speeds are the slowest on the calendar, too, drivers need as much of the track as possible and the closer they can put their car to the barriers the faster they go. That’s why it remains one of the most thrilling to watch and is still with us even after all these years.

The Monaco Grand Prix was on the inaugural F1 calendar back in 1950 and it’s been a regular fixture since ’55. The layout of the 2.1-mile circuit has remained largely unchanged, the biggest updates taking place in 2004 when a new pit complex was built.

Being a street circuit, the grip levels change the whole weekend and the surface can also be quite bumpy. The cars are set at their maximum ride height and allowances are also made for the steering, which is necessary for the tight, twisting corners.

Pirelli has nominated its P Zero Yellow soft and P Zero Red supersoft tires. This is actually the same nomination used in Monaco over the last two seasons, but of course this year the compounds are a lot softer.

Rain is predicted for the Saturday before the race and Monday after, however, the current forecast for Sunday’s actual race is for partly cloudy skies. Let’s hope it stays that way.

As always in Monaco qualifying will be critical, as will race strategy to ensure that track position is maintained. Going into this weekend’s event, Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel leads the Drivers’ Championship with 89 points and is followed closely by Lotus’ Kimi Räikkönen in second with 85 points and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso in third with 72 points. Interestingly, should Alonso win this weekend, he will be the first driver to win at Monaco with three different teams. The Spaniard won it in 2006 with Renault and in 2007 with McLaren.

In the Constructors’ Championship, Red Bull Racing remains in the lead with 131 points, with Ferrari in second with 117 points and Lotus in third with 111 points.


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