Mick Schumacher says he is ‘immensely looking forward’ to racing around the Circuit de Monaco in a Formula 1 car for the first time, although he is expecting a ‘super hard’ and ‘super difficult’ weekend.
The Uralkali Haas F1 Team driver says there is always excitement when it comes to racing around the streets of the principality of Monaco, with his first experience having come back in 2019 when he raced there in FIA Formula 2.
However, he is expecting a tough challenge this weekend racing a Formula 1 car between the barriers for seventy laps, with it likely to be mentally draining as well as physically due to the concentration levels needed.
“It’s a historical circuit and a challenging track too,” said Schumacher. “Obviously, it’s a place every racing car driver in general is excited to go to or experience at least just once. I have experienced it in Formula 2 – that was for the first time back in 2019 and I loved it. I’m immensely looking forward to it this year driving in Formula 1.
“You probably won’t find a Monaco twice, if that makes sense – you will never find the same race or same weekend twice there. It’s always special, there’s always something happening – something different happening.
“In general, it’s always a crazy performance from every driver to drive Monaco. It’s a real challenge there when you’re so close to the wall every time for over 70 laps. Mentally it’s super hard, super difficult, but it’s a challenge and that’s why it’s so fun to go to such a track. I’m really looking forward to it.”
Schumacher’s results in his first outing in Monaco were not much to write home about, with two finishes outside the top ten back in 2019. The circuit was absent from the calendar last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the German is thrilled to see the venue back and for him to be a part of it.
“Formula 2 was obviously quite a notch slower than Formula 1, so I’m excited to feel how it’s going to be in a Formula 1 car,” he said. “The Formula 2 car, in general, is still a very fast car, and it’s a heavy car, but it’s alive and moving a lot.
“It was definitely a challenge and fun for me to experience Monaco. I’d only gone to Baku before and Macau, which is quite similar, in terms of street circuits. To have been part of the Monaco weekend in general was great for me.
“Seeing Formula 1 drive there was great but to be there in Formula 2 was also special for me to experience it and to learn from it.”
Schumacher says that drivers can make a difference around Monaco, and in a VF-21 car that he is increasingly becoming comfortable behind the wheel of, he is ready for the challenge of his first Monaco Grand Prix this weekend.
“It’s definitely a driver’s circuit – the driver can make the difference there,” said Schumacher. “Obviously, if you have a car that you trust, one that you feel comfortable in, most likely that will help you go into Monaco, and into FP1, with somewhat more of an open mind to learn the track.
“If you also have to learn the car, or if you’re not comfortable in the car, that definitely makes it a lot more difficult. I’m super comfortable in the car and I’m excited to learn how to drive around Monaco in the VF-21.”
“It is always very special to race in Monaco” – Nikita Mazepin
Team-mate Nikita Mazepin says it will be very special to be a part of the Monaco Grand Prix this weekend, with his previous experience there seeing him score points in both Formula 2 races in 2019.
The Russian has not had the best of starts to his Formula 1 career, with a crash in the Bahrain Grand Prix being followed by three races finishing last of those who took the chequered flag. He has also seen himself suffer a number of spins as well as finding himself facing criticism from other drivers for the way he has driven.
However, Mazepin remains focused on the job in hand, and he hopes Monaco continues to be a track that is good to him in 2021 as it was during 2019.
“It is always very special to race in Monaco, regardless of the car, because it’s a city that transfers into a racing circuit then back again – that’s something special,” said Mazepin. “However, to debut in Formula 1, it’s definitely cool but also very challenging.
“I had a very good time in Monaco in F2 – unfortunately we didn’t go back there last year. I think it’s a track that’s rather good for me. With the engineers you obviously focus on qualifying first because on a circuit like that qualifying is super important with very little opportunity to overtake.”
Unlike Schumacher, Mazepin says having a good car with a lot of downforce will be important this weekend, and the limitations of the VF-21 and of his own limited experience in Formula 1 will make for a difficult weekend in the principality.
“I would say Monaco is mostly a driver’s circuit in regards to making mistakes, but having a good car with a lot of downforce is important – so therefore this year I’m expecting quite a big challenge,” said Mazepin.
“In regard to having four race starts under our belt in the VF-21 before Monaco, well, we don’t get to chose the calendar so it is what it is.”