Magic of Monaco
The famous streets of the Circuit de Monaco are a firm favourite amongst the drivers as Esteban Ocon outlines his state of mind heading into the sixth race of the 2023 Formula 1 season.
What message do you have for the Italian fans and the people of Emilia-Romagna?
Firstly, my thoughts are still very much with the people of the Emilia-Romagna region in Italy. The images we’ve seen coming out of there are devastating and we all hope the situation improves quickly. I spent a lot of time in that area growing up and it’s very difficult to see what the people on the ground are going through. The full focus of the emergency services should be on the current situation, so I fully understand and accept the decision Formula 1 took to not proceed with the race. We will miss the unique passion of the Tifosi but we will see them in Monza later this year and hopefully back at Imola in the future.
What can we expect from the team in Monaco after a decent showing in Miami?
While our thoughts remain with Emilia-Romagna, our racing focus turns to Monaco. Like Miami, we need to ensure that we have a smooth weekend and bring home deserved points. We’ve had a couple of disappointing race weekends this year so the team is focused on executing better races across the board. We are eager to get back out there and show our pace and show that we can compete with some of the top teams. Monaco is always an exciting weekend, one of the highlights of the season, and we will be looking to put on a good show for the fans.
What are your thoughts on the iconic Circuit de Monaco?
Personally, I’m looking forward to taking on this famous street circuit and seeing how much performance we can find from the car on the streets of Monte Carlo. The layout is unique in the fact that it is the shortest track of the year with its narrow streets, tight corners, and limited time for drivers to go to full throttle. The race is always such a spectacle, and the event is so prestigious with a lot of history, so it’s always an intense but amazing experience. We are excited to be racing again after two weeks and we feel ready as a team for Monaco.
Success in Monaco is often defined by a matter of millimetres. And with three points scoring finishes from three of his four starts around Monte Carlo in Formula 1, Pierre Gasly knows all about the fine details that prove pivotal in the Principality.
What message do you have for the people of Emilia-Romagna?
It was of course a pity not to race at Imola last weekend but it was absolutely the right decision by Formula 1 to not go ahead with the conditions as they were in the region. My thoughts are with those in Emilia-Romagna impacted by the weather and the floods and hopefully the situation can improve quickly. It’s an area of Italy I am familiar with from my time racing in Faenza so it was very difficult to see the situation unfold as it did and I hope things get better for everyone living there. Hopefully we can put on a good show in Monza later in the year for the epic Italian fans.
How much are you looking forward to racing in Monaco?
I’m really looking forward to racing in Monaco as it’s one of the biggest and most rewarding challenges of the season for us drivers. Without a French Grand Prix on the calendar, this race is as close to France as we get during the year and the support from the fans in Monaco is very special. The Monaco Grand Prix is world famous as it’s one of the most prestigious races in the world of motorsport and a race every driver wants to succeed in during their career. As a team, we’ll aim to keep improving and build off from our promising performance last time out and aim to come away from Monaco with the best result possible, which, must be strong points from both cars.
What is the Circuit de Monaco like to drive?
I would say Monaco is one of the most difficult laps on the calendar. It’s a track which requires perfection as you are on the limit for just over 60seconds, millimetres from the walls, with no room for any mistake. Monaco is all about building confidence through the three practice sessions and then having confidence in the car to push in Qualifying on Saturday. With overtaking so difficult in the race, Qualifying is very important so the target, as a minimum, is reaching Q3 and putting ourselves in the best position to score points.
Five Alpine Academy drivers will line up on the grid at the Circuit de Monaco this weekend as Jack Doohan (Invicta Virtuosi) and Victor Martins (ART Grand Prix) head into Round 5 of the FIA Formula 2 Championship while Gabriele Minì (Hitech), Nikola Tsolov (ART Grand Prix) and Sophia Floersch (PHM Racing) are in FIA Formula 3 action as the championship returns to the Principality for the first time since 2012 (GP3 Series).
Jack and Victor aim to capitalise on the pace they have shown in previous rounds and recent in-season testing with the goal of collecting a big haul of points to begin the Monaco-Spain double header on a positive.
Gabriele, Nikola and Sophia are preparing for Round 3 of the FIA Formula 3 Championship. After nearly two months away from racing, all three drivers will be eager to get back on track and put what they learned during in-season testing into practice.
Jack Doohan: “It was a shame that we couldn’t race in Imola but, of course, the safety and health of those in the region must come first and we all support the decision. Looking ahead to the next round, I am really looking forward to racing in Monaco this weekend, it is really exciting because it is like a second home Grand Prix for me. It was an awesome opportunity to be able to race here last year, so getting the chance to come back for a second year and have another go at it is great. It is such a historic circuit and racing between these walls is such a privilege and I look forward to hopefully a very successful weekend.”
Victor Martins: “Monaco is my favourite track and I actually haven’t raced there since 2019 so I am really looking forward to finally going back. I love driving at street circuits and the challenge as a driver is to bring the car to the limit without going over it. I love the atmosphere and the history of the track, and of course, the layout is cool to drive. It was unfortunate that we couldn’t race in Imola because of the extreme conditions in the region but the safety and the health of everyone in the area is the priority. Now we look ahead to Monaco. The pace and performance of the team is strong, we just need to manage situations better to score points. Our preparation is underway, and we will be fully ready to challenge Monaco and bring some points for the team and myself.”
Gabriele Minì: “I am gutted that we couldn’t race in Imola as I was really looking forward to racing in front of a home crowd but, we all fully support the decision to put the safety of everyone first and my thoughts are with everyone in the Emilia Romagna region. Looking ahead to the next race, I am ready for Monaco. It will be our first-time racing at a street circuit this year which will be very interesting. We need to run the tyres as best as we can in practice to understand them ahead of qualifying and the races. Getting to grips with the track in practice will be important so that we can maximise performance in qualifying which will be key to the race. The circuit doesn’t allow for much overtaking so placing well in qualifying will determine your position for much of the race.”
Nikola Tsolov: “It is a shame that we didn’t get to race in Imola, but we all support the decision, and our thoughts are with everyone who has been affected by the conditions in the region. I am looking forward to the next round in Monaco. Racing so close to the walls on a very demanding track will make it an exciting weekend and it will be my first time at a street circuit which I am very excited about. The focus will be to get to grips with the track quickly and to find the limit to be able to race as close to the walls as possible. I will also look to apply the right driving style which I have been using in the simulator preparation we have been doing ahead of the race and, of course, focus on working well with the team to understand the soft tyre compound. It will be a new experience that won’t be easy, but I couldn’t be more excited to go there and face the challenge.”
Sophia Floersch: “Not being able to race in Imola was a pity because we were all really looking forward to getting back on track, but we fully support the decision to put the safety of everyone in the area first and my thoughts are with everyone there. I am super excited to be heading to Monaco for the next round. I always love racing on street circuits. They are always special but, this track is so legendary so driving through the streets of Monaco for the first time will be amazing. I’ve spent more than 1000km on the sim just for Monaco in the past two weeks and I can’t wait to get started. It’s going to be interesting with 30 drivers on 3.3km but we will give it our all, especially in qualifying as this will be even more important than usual.”
Monaco Grand Prix Factfile
Drivers, team facts and stats: Monaco
• The Circuit de Monaco is the shortest track in length on the 2023 F1 calendar at 3.337km / 2.703 miles.
• Monaco has the joint third most number of corners at 19 alongside Miami, Imola, Belgium and Singapore.
• Throughout the duration of the race, Monaco has the highest number of turns made at 1,482 per driver, per race.
• Monaco is the oldest circuit (1950) alongside Belgium, Silverstone and Monza, still being used in F1 Championship rounds.
• Esteban Ocon’s best result in Monaco was in 2018 when he qualified and finished sixth. It was a historic event in F1 history, as it was the first-ever race in which the top six on the grid finished in exactly the same positions.
• The lap record is 1min 12.909secs completed by Lewis Hamilton in the 2021 Grand Prix, while the absolute lap record is 1min 10.166secs also set by Hamilton in 2019.
• Both Esteban and Pierre have four race starts in Monaco and equal a best finish of 6th. Esteban in 2018 and Pierre in 2019 after gaining two places from his eighth-place grid slot.
Further Facts and Stats:
• This weekend marks the 50th race for the Alpine name since it first appeared at the 2021 Bahrain Grand Prix.
• Pierre has finished seventh or better in three of his four previous visits to Monaco and set the fastest lap in the 2019 Grand Prix.
• Pierre is the only driver on the grid to have gained places on the first lap of every race in 2023.
• No power unit manufacturer has more world championship Monaco poles than the 12 scored by Renault, the first of which came from Rene Arnoux in 1982.