2024 Monaco Grand Prix: Selected Tyres

Formula 1 2024: Pre Season Test
Formula 1 2024: Pre Season Test

2024 Monaco Grand Prix: Selected Tyres – The Monaco Grand Prix is one of the classics on the Formula 1 calendar and this year it reaches an impressive milestone. This weekend will be the 70th edition of the race to count towards the Drivers’ World Championship. There were in fact eleven earlier races, ten before the World Championship for the blue riband racing category was established and one in 1952 when the Grand Prix was contested by closed-wheel Sports cars.

As usual, Pirelli’s choice of slick tyre compounds falls to the three softest available this year, which means the C3 as Hard, the C4 as Medium and the C5 as Soft. As is generally the case on street circuits the track has a particularly smooth surface, given it is in daily use for road cars and so the tyres must provide as much grip as possible.

In Monaco, the tyres are subjected to some of the lowest forces of the whole season as the average speed over the 3.337 kilometre-long track is very slow with some corners taken at less than 50 km/h, while the cars are only at full throttle for 30% of the lap. However, mitigating this low stress level is the fact that, with 78 laps to cover on Sunday, every phenomenon that can characterise tyre behaviour occurs far more frequently than average, especially when it comes to the level of energy developed when traction is required. Another factor to consider regarding the tyres is graining which, especially on the first couple of days, could turn out to be an unwelcome guest. 

On a track where the margin for error is pretty much non-existent, one factor which affects how quickly a driver’s lap times come down is the confidence they gradually gain, regardless of how well they know the track, as they tackle its 19 corners and all the other hazards it harbours. The driver must work towards finding the best lines, getting ever closer to the barriers, often brushing them with the shoulder of the tyres. The skill is in doing this without breaking anything on the car and it is the key to securing a good grid position, essential in a race where overtaking is wellnigh impossible, even when there is a performance gap between cars that can run into seconds. Qualifying will be even more critical, when this year we have seen the order in which the cars line up behind the starting lights decided by just thousandths of a second. 

On a track like this, an appearance from the Safety Car is almost inevitable, with past experience rating it at 77% probable, on average almost twice per race. Although curiously, last year’s race ran smoothly with no neutralisation periods. There is really only one strategic option and that is a one-stop, trying to pit as late as possible precisely to benefit from any eventual Safety Car, thus minimising the time lost in the pit lane.

So far this month, there have been several commemorations for the 30th anniversary of the death of Ayrton Senna, who has very much left his mark on the Monaco Grand Prix. The Brazilian still holds the record for the most wins (6), pole positions (5) and podium finishes (8). Michael Schumacher has set the most fastest race laps (5) and is second equal with Graham Hill on the winners’ standings with five, while these two, along with Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel are second equal when it comes to podium finishes on seven. With 17 wins, McLaren is the most successful team, while Ferrari has started from pole the most times (12) and set the most (17) fastest race laps and heads the list of podium appearances with 55, more than double that of second placed McLaren on 27.

The Monaco Grand Prix is one of the classics on the Formula 1 calendar and this year it reaches an impressive milestone. This weekend will be the 70th edition of the race to count towards the Drivers’ World Championship. There were in fact eleven earlier races, ten before the World Championship for the blue riband racing category was established and one in 1952 when the Grand Prix was contested by closed-wheel Sports cars.

2024 Monaco Grand Prix: Selected Tyres

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