May 29 2016

Formula One 2016: Circuit de Monaco

Monaco, criminal tax haven and glittering Cubic Zirconia of the Mediterranean. Fleshpot and gambling den of Europe. Gangster Paradise.

Since the Great Depression they’ve also held an annoying Formula One race known mostly for it’s lack of racing because there are no places to pass on its twisty streets except when there are flaming hunks of twisted metal (well, shattered shards of carbon fiber but you get the picture).

It is the Talladega of Formula One and one of the most popular races because of that.

The tires on offer today are the new Ultra Softs (surprisingly durable), Super Softs, and Softs.

Don’t worry about that because mostly they’ll be using the Intermediates and Wets.

Yup. Supposed to rain in buckets which may mix things up but probably will simply ensure that most of the race will run under Yellow except for the times they entirely stop under Red to clean up the debris.

Nominally to run 78 laps this will likely peter out as most of them do at the 2 hour time limit.

Some more sanguine takes on Monaco-

Everybody’s Favorite Formula One Throwback
By BRAD SPURGEON, The New York Times
MAY 27, 2016

The Monaco Grand Prix is probably the only race on the Formula One calendar where the poor race performances of great drivers and the superb performances of lesser drivers share the spotlight with the achievements of the finest drivers.

It’s a race that is remembered as much for Ayrton Senna’s crash 12 laps from the end while dominating it in 1988 — the Brazilian lost concentration, hit a wall and lost the victory — as it is for his record of winning there six times.

Alain Prost’s desire that the rain-drenched 1984 race be ended before the young Senna, who had climbed up from 13th on the grid to second, could catch him is as memorable as Prost’s four victories there.

Then there are the triumphs of the outsiders, like Jean-Pierre Beltoise, a Frenchman whose only race victory came there in 1972, in the rain in an underpowered BRM car.

And the Monaco Grand Prix is also remembered for its accidents, such as when Alberto Ascari flew off the track in his Lancia and into the harbor in 1955 or when Lorenzo Bandini crashed his Ferrari in the 1967 race and died three days later.

A Legendary Short and Winding Road in Monaco
By BRAD SPURGEON, The New York Times
MAY 27, 2016

Run on a temporary circuit in the streets of a principality overlooking the Mediterranean, the Monaco Grand Prix is unique among Formula One races. Given its anachronistic character, it’s also an event that, were it not for its illustrious history and its continuing ability to attract heads of state, movie stars, entrepreneurs and executives of the world’s biggest companies, would certainly no longer exist.

Putting on the Brakes to Get Ahead in Formula One
By BRAD SPURGEON, The New York Times
MAY 27, 2016

Without a perfect braking system, a driver cannot set up the rest of the car to go fast, because nothing — the aerodynamics, the engine power, the steering — will work to its best capacity.

Brake technology is one of the most complex aspects of Formula One cars, part of a technological system that is constantly developed, tweaked and changed.

When the hybrid engine rules took effect in 2014, the teams began using “brake-by-wire,” an electric system for the rear brakes that has greatly increased the importance and complexity of the braking system.

The brake-by-wire builds up the pressure on the rear caliper instead of the driver doing so directly. Until 2014, the rules outlawed such electronic driver’s aids. But with the introduction of the hybrid energy recovery systems, it was necessary to allow such a system of braking on the rear of the car.

While there is considerable braking power at high speed, when the cars drive through a corner at low speed the braking power is done almost entirely by the energy recover system, or E.R.S. And this requires changing the behavior of the brake pedal according to the involvement of the recovery system.

The bottom line- Verstappen crashed out of Qualifying, Ricciardo sits on pole. He has the new version of the Renault engine. Rosberg, Hamilton after Hamilton had a melt down in Q3 and barely got back on track.

None of it matters because of the rain which is going to keep the high rollers in the bar, watching on TV just like you are. Pre-race NBC Sports at 7 am, race 7:30 am on NBC.

Hey, at least it keeps Chuck Todd off the air.

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