As with each race, Lotus F1 Team sent us a preview to the Monaco track. Let’s take a look at the numbers before we get down to talk tech.
The highest g-force experienced is 3.5 for a duration of 3 seconds at T3. 20% of the lap is spent braking whereas 44.5% of lap is dispensed with while on full throttle. Top speed will be a not so shocking 285 kph with highest apex speed being 269 kph. Lowest apex speed is 50 kph at at T6. In a circuit that barely lets you tap the maximum power of the engine, the longest full throttle burst is for 500m through the tunnel.
Here are the tech details on how the various components of the Lotus Renault E20 will be optimized for the Grand Prix de Monaco.
1. REAR WING
We will have a Monaco-specific ‘big’ rear wing to gain more downforce at the slower overall speeds we see here.
Brakes are not a big concern. It’s only low speed so you’re not braking significantly as you would from a long straight into a first gear corner, and it’s also a shorter race than most, so wear is not an issue. You need to monitor temperature because there aren’t high speed sections to cool down the brakes and the relentless stop / start nature can compound heat generation.
Monaco has the greatest undulations relative to any other circuit, so you need a soft car which allows the tyres to be on the tarmac as much as possible. This means softer roll bars and springs, with the aim of maximising mechanical grip without losing too much aerodynamic grip.
This will be the first time we see Pirelli’s red-marked supersoft tyre at a race. We’ll also run the soft compound. Tyre wear is very low here, due to the smooth track surface and low speed layout.
5. FRONT WING
Front downforce is very important here and we run maximum front wing with more balance to the front because of the understeer inducing characteristics of the circuit.
You need an engine with very good response. Rather than ultimate power being the goal; drivability is king. You’ll never go slower with more power, but it’s the least power sensitive circuit of the year. The engine also spends a relatively short amount of time at full throttle so the challenge is to deliver torque through the lower rev limits of the engine. However, as Monaco is a bumpy street track, the engine needs a good limiter setting so it is capable of digesting all the bumps. Fuel consumption also needs to be worked out accurately as the track gets quicker and quicker over the week-end.
Monaco Circuit – An Engineers View : Alan Permane, Director Trackside Operations
The first corner is very tight and has been the scene of many incidents over the years. The drivers need to keep their wits about them to avoid any drama.
TURNS 4 + 5
The bumpy track between turns four and five means that the drivers need to modify their line to avoid unsettling their car unduly.
The slowest corner on the circuit, and of the entire season. Suspension and steering mods have to be made to the car just to make it through this turn.
Taken flat out, the tunnel is the fastest part of the track. The contrast of natural, artificial, then natural light is a big challenge for the drivers. Track temperature is also different from the rest of the circuit.
Exiting the tunnel into the chicane is the scene of many out-braking manoeuvres. An opportunity to pressurise the car ahead, but a place where mistakes are often seen.
The Swimming Pool, ‘La Piscine’, is entered very quickly, before braking hard for turn 15.
Turn 18, La Rascasse, is the second slowest part of the circuit with the cars running very close to the inside wall.
A good exit is essential leading on to the start finish straight. High traction demands here.