2022 Monaco Grand Prix – Preview
THE TYRES ON TRACK
- Just one weekend after the hardest tyres in the Pirelli Formula 1 range were selected for the Spanish Grand Prix, the softest compounds make an appearance for the most glamorous track of them all: Monaco. The C3 is the P Zero White hard, C4 is the P Zero Yellow medium, and C5 is P Zero Red soft.
- Like Barcelona, Monaco is extremely well-known to the teams: just one of three circuits still on the calendar that originally appeared in the inaugural 1950 Formula 1 season. Unlike the other two (Spa and Silverstone) it hasn’t changed shape significantly since then, which means that it has the lowest average speed of any track and very little run-off, making it notoriously difficult to overtake on.
- The slippery street asphalt (which is opened up to traffic each evening) and slow speeds mean that the energy going through the tyres is low, with minimal wear and degradation, but quite a high degree of track evolution each day. All this means that a one-stopper is the norm in Monaco, but there’s quite a wide pit stop window and the timing of the stops can be influenced by safety cars, which are very likely around the tight confines of the circuit.
- The cars run a special high-downforce configuration for Monaco in order to maximise grip at low speeds, with combined grip generated both mechanically from tyres and aerodynamically from downforce. This is obviously the first time that the new generation of 18-inch Formula 1 cars has raced at Monaco though, so the teams will have a lot to learn about how they react in these unique conditions, with the weather on the Mediterranean coast sometimes hard to predict at this time of year.
“Monaco is often described as one of the most unpredictable races of the year, but the truth is that qualifying takes on a particular significance as track position is key here. As a result of that, understanding how to maximise the softest C5 compound - which has only raced at one event so far this year, in Australia - will be a vital part of free practice. With the previous rule requiring drivers to start the race on their fastest Q2 tyre now abolished, we might see some different strategies this year, with some drivers picking harder compounds to begin the race to target running a long first stint, given the difficultly of overtaking. Others may choose a more traditional approach by starting on the softest compound, at a race where strategy can make a real difference.”
Formula 2 will also race in Monaco with the softest available compounds: the P Zero Red soft tyre and the P Zero Purple supersoft tyre. This is the same nomination as in 2021 and prior years, although the supersoft is a revised compound for 2022 that made its debut earlier this season in Imola. Each driver has five sets of slick tyres (three soft and two supersoft) to use across the weekend. The drivers are split into two groups for qualifying on Friday, before the 30-lap sprint race takes place on Saturday afternoon. The feature race is on Sunday morning, lasting 42 laps and including a mandatory pit-stop with drivers required to use both slick compounds if it’s dry.
The fourth round of the World Rally Championship, Rally Portugal, took place last weekend with Pirelli’s Scorpion gravel tyres making their season debut on demanding stages close to Porto. The winner was Toyota driver Kalle Rovanperä, following a gala event before the start of the rally – also attended by Mario Isola – to celebrate 50 years of the WRC.
The famed Nurburgring 24 Hours, with more than 130 entrants over the combined 25-kilometre Nordschleife and grand prix circuits takes place this weekend. Pirelli’s entrants will all use the latest-specification P Zero DHF tyre, on what is renowned as the world’s toughest race track with the most variable weather.
- NATIONAL GT CHAMPIONSHIPS
In other GT news, two major national championship races supplied exclusively by Pirelli are taking place on consecutive weekends: Oschersleben in Germany hosted the latest round of the ADAC GT Masters series last weekend (won by Ben Green e Niklas Krütten with Schubert Motorsport BMW) while British GT races at Donington Park this weekend. In total, Pirelli supplies around 100 national championships all over the world.