Hear from McLaren Honda drivers Stoffel Vandoorne and Jenson Button as they prepare for Round Six at the Circuit de Monaco.
“Although the Spanish Grand Prix result was frustrating and of course not a result that we were looking for, we were still able to find some positives over the weekend. The upgrades we brought to the car have delivered the performance we were hoping, and we managed to take a lot of information from each day on track, which has been really useful for the engineers and the design team back at the factory and is helping our programme from race to race.
“Since Barcelona, I’ve been back at MTC in the simulator, and I feel ready and excited to head to Monaco. It’s the first time that I’ll be racing in my ‘back yard’, as it’s recently become another home race for me. It’ll also be my first time behind the wheel there in a Formula 1 car, but it’s not the first time I’ve driven on the famous Monaco circuit. I raced there in GP2 for three years, and also in World Series by Renault, so I know it pretty well and enjoy driving there. It’s one of those tracks where even if you have the best-performing car, but you’re a victim of bad luck in the traffic, it can affect the outcome of the whole weekend. It makes for really exciting racing for the fans, and anything can happen there.
“It’s also great to see Jenson back in McLaren Honda colours and alongside me in the garage. Both of us love driving on this circuit and I hope it’ll be the best opportunity for us on track so far this season. I know both of us will also be keeping one eye on everything happening in Indianapolis, too, and hope Fernando can also enjoy a good weekend over there.”
“It feels slightly surreal to be back in the cockpit for the Monaco Grand Prix. When the call came from Eric there was no hesitation – it’s a totally unique situation and a great opportunity. I’m looking forward to stepping back behind the wheel for one of the most crazy, unpredictable and exciting races of the year.
“Monaco is truly unique as a track, and requires a lot of work to fine-tune the car and optimise the set-up for the narrow layout. It’s always a challenge – a huge challenge, for any driver – but a really exciting challenge, and has always been up there in my favourite races of the year.
“Although I haven’t turned a wheel on track yet in the MCL32, I feel well prepared. I know the track well, of course, and I’ve done quite a bit of work in the McLaren simulator already. I’m still fit, and I’ve been training probably more than ever, because I’ve had the time to focus on my triathlon preparation and competitions. I’m looking forward to working with the team again, and, as I’ll be on the other side of the garage this time around, I’ll do my best to look after the car for Fernando!”
Circuit name: Circuit de Monaco
First race: 1950
The Monaco Grand Prix is one of Formula 1’s highlights. It takes place on the tortuous streets of the Principality and the intoxicating mix of glamour and history makes it one of the most prestigious races for drivers and teams to win. It was first run in 1929 and it featured on the inaugural world championship calendar in 1950, since when the track layout has remained largely unchanged.
What makes the race special?
Monaco is F1’s original street track. It’s made up entirely of public roads and every metre of the 3.337km/2.074-mile layout tests the drivers’ skill and bravery. The race has been won by many of the greatest drivers in history; Ayrton Senna has a record six victories, five of them won consecutively with McLaren between 1989 and ’93.
Bet you never knew...
There wasn’t a Monaco Grand Prix for four years, between 1951 and ’54 inclusive.
The closing laps of the 1982 Monaco Grand Prix. A late-race rain shower caused chaos; up to five drivers were in a position to win, but they either crashed out or ran out of fuel. In the end, Riccardo Patrese won for Brabham, one lap ahead of second-placed Didier Pironi, who ran out of fuel.
What we love
The atmosphere. The boats in the harbour, the Grimaldi Palace on the hill and the full grandstands create an ambience that’s unique to Monaco.
1992, when Ayrton Senna took his sixth and final Monaco victory. He inherited the lead from Nigel Mansell, when the Englishman pitted on lap 71 of 78 with a puncture, and he had to withstand huge pressure from Mansell in the final five laps. He crossed the line 0.215s ahead – the smallest winning margin in the history of the Monaco Grand Prix.
Except during World War II, motor racing has been a staple in Monaco since 1929. But not only F1; the Principality welcomed historic racing for the first time in 1997 and in 2016 there was the inaugural Formula ePrix.
Did you know?
Monaco is the shortest and slowest racetrack on the F1 calendar. At 3.340km/2.075 miles, it’s 3.664km/2.277 miles shorter than the longest track, Spa-Francorchamps.
McLaren is the most successful constructor in the history of the Monaco Grand Prix. The team has won the race 15 times, most recently in 2008.