Formula 1

2024 Monaco Grand Prix: What the Teams are Saying Ahead of the Weekend

9 Mins read
Credit: Jiri Krenek

Formula 1 heads to Monte Carlo this weekend for the 2024 Monaco Grand Prix and Round 8 of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship.

Max Verstappen and Oracle Red Bull Racing lead the way in both the Drivers’ and Constructors Championships but in the past two rounds in Miami and Imola, we have seen stern challenges from McLaren F1 Team and Scuderia Ferrari. Lando Norris, in particular, has been in good from, winning in Miami and finishing under a second behind Verstappen at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

Monaco is the jewel in the Formula 1 crown and can be one of the most exciting races on the calendar. Read what the teams have been saying ahead of the weekend, including Ferrari and McLaren.

Fred Vasseur — Scuderia Ferrari

“A few days ago, it was our home race in Imola and this weekend, Charles will be on home turf in Monaco, a race that is unfinished business for him and we’d like to help him put it to bed. 

“Carlos also loves racing in the Principality, where he took his first podium at the wheel of a Ferrari, so they are both very motivated. 

“It’s generally accepted that, with the current generation of cars, overtaking is harder here than at any other track on the calendar, which means qualifying takes on even greater importance than usual. 

“We will therefore be looking to make a step forward in this discipline, as so far this season we have lacked what it takes to be quickest of all. 

“With this in mind, we have been working hard in the simulator and during engineering meetings, preparing everything down to the smallest detail and we fully intend to be front-runners.

Lando Norris — McLaren F1 Team

“Monaco up next! It’s one of the most challenging weekends on the calendar. It’s not the easiest track to overtake, but qualifying here is one of the most exciting challenges in motorsport. It’s all about hitting the ground running and building confidence right from FP1.

“It felt good to be able to fight for the win in Imola, so we have so much potential moving forward. Monaco will also be a special race for us as we will be racing in a tribute livery to Senna. It looks amazing, and I can’t wait to race around this special track in it.”

Oscar Piastri — McLaren F1 Team

“It’s going to be an honour to race around the streets of Monaco in our special Senna livery. He was a master of this track with six victories and it’s important to pay tribute to such a role model of our sport.

“I have also come up with a special helmet design and I’ll be auctioning off one of my helmets to raise funds for the Ayrton Senna Institute, which does such great work in providing opportunities and transforming lives.

“The past two race weekends in Miami and Imola have been amongst my strongest in F1 and it’s an exciting prospect to be heading to Monaco with good momentum.”

Toto Wolff — Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team

“The small step forward we took in Imola was encouraging. The team has worked incredibly hard to bring our recent updates to the track, and it was a clear performance gain. That being said, others have improved too.

“We are still a step behind the front three teams therefore, and there is plenty of work still to do. Nevertheless, we have a clear direction and developments in the pipeline. We have a more solid platform to build on now and we are confident that, in time, we can get ourselves into the pack ahead. 

“That work continues this weekend in Monaco. It is a unique circuit and a fantastic challenge for the team and drivers. It is always hard to predict expected performance, but we will look to execute a clean weekend and maximise the car we have.

“It is always a special weekend, and we look forward to putting on a good show for the fans, and our partners and guests across our extensive hospitality programme in Monte Carlo.”

Nico Hulkenberg — Haas F1 Team

“I’ve lived in Monaco since 2015, this will be my 11th Monaco Grand Prix, and I’ve watched the race many times growing up. Monaco is iconic, it’s all about tradition; the palace, the hotels, and many places that still have a dress code to be able to get in. The history and the heritage there, everyone embraces and respects that, which I like.

“There’s always a bit more focus on qualifying here in Monaco. But it’s the same every weekend, from scratch you need to try to get a good feeling for the car, and the difficulty with qualifying in Monaco is that you really need to master the lap and put all three sectors together. It’s a ride on a knife edge and challenging every year and one of my favorite tracks to drive, I look forward to the ride and the challenge.”

Kevin Magnussen — Haas F1 Team

“It’s the best track on the calendar to drive, it’s just phenomenal on these little tight streets with walls everywhere. The feeling of driving a Formula 1 car in Monaco, to me, is the best of the year. We know there’s no overtaking in the race, so it does feel now with all these other races where overtaking is pretty good and racing is pretty good, that it is a bit of a weird one because there’s so little.

“Maybe there could be more qualifying sessions or a Sprint to throw a curveball. The Monaco Grand Prix is a part of the triple crown, it’s one of those races where if you win that, it’s extra special, and having driven around there it’s so special, so I hope it stays on the calendar.

“At other races, you’re doing laps to explore different techniques, you’ve found the limit quickly. In Monaco, you’re just getting closer and closer to the limit, and as it’s a track that’s really being used, it’s got so much track evolution.

“Monaco is one where all the partying that’s going on, it’s pretty visible. At other races, the parties are happening in clubs in the city, in Monaco, they’re happening on the track in Rascasse, and people are spilling drinks on the track! I love Monaco, it’s my favourite race.”

Esteban Ocon — BWT Alpine F1 Team

“Reflecting on Imola, I would say it was a tricky race for us as a team, and we were not in a position to fight with the other cars around us. The car felt more competitive over a single lap, and we were again within reach of making it into Q3, but in the race we were hindered by a lack of straight-line speed. 

“It meant we were not able to make progress on our starting position or defend from those behind. We tried different strategies with both cars to give ourselves an opportunity to make up places, but ultimately, we lacked the required pace. 

“I extended my first stint to allow for a one-stop and hoped we could jump any of those two-stopping but in the end that did not happen. What Imola showed is that we must keep improving and working hard to understand the car more − extracting the most from the set-up at the different types of circuit we visit, starting already this week in Monaco. 

“Monaco is such a special place on the calendar and is synonymous with Formula 1 and the history of motorsport. As a driver, it is a weekend that you need to be at your very best and stayed focused throughout. 

“Monaco is a track where the driver can really make a difference. If you feel comfortable in the car and the car is compliant and turns how you want, you can run close to the barriers and find extra time. 

“That is what happened last year, where I felt good in the car already from the first Practice session. I have very fond memories of this place, especially from the podium finish last year. Without a race in France, this can be considered a bit of a home race for us, alongside Silverstone. 

“Realistically, I do not think we can repeat the performance from last year, but we will give it our all to achieve the best result this weekend.”

Pierre Gasly — BWT Alpine F1 Team

“I definitely had mixed feelings travelling home on Sunday night after Imola. On one side, it’s a step in the right direction as I felt very comfortable in the car through Friday and Saturday. 

“It’s probably the most dialed in I’ve been all season so far. I made a small mistake in Qualifying in Q2 when it mattered – I was slightly distracted into the final corners by another car and I misjudged my line. 

“That’s on me, and it would have been interesting to see where we would have ended up as my Q1 lap time was very strong and inside the top ten. These are just small things to get right and I know we are getting there as a team. 

“Sunday’s race was less positive for us and it exposed our weaknesses across our car package. We lacked pace to really make anything from the race. There’s plenty for us to review but clearly not the way we expect things to go. We have an immediate chance to race again this weekend. It’s probably as close as we get to France all season, so while it’s not a home race, that’s saved for Charles, it does feel special for the team and us drivers in Monaco with so much French support. 

“It’s the race I most look forward to on the calendar. It’s high risk with high rewards, as we experienced as a team last year. I have some unfinished business on my side from twelve months ago, so I’m definitely ready to get going on track. It’s a legendary place. World famous and the most iconic place in motorsport. 

“We’re going to work hard to get up to speed as quickly as possible and build up some confidence in the car during Practice. From there, we’ll need a bit of magic on Saturday and see where we’re at from there. I’m ready for it!”

Alex Albon — Williams Racing

“As we head to Monaco this week as part of the doubleheader, I’m really looking forward to driving on this iconic track again and it’s always exciting when the race is on your doorstep. 

“Monaco has always been a track that our car has struggled with, so I’m interested to see how the FW46 performs given our change in characteristics to make it more versatile across different tracks. 

“Monaco is always interesting with the weather being unpredictable, as well as overtaking being a challenge, so it should make for an interesting weekend.”

Credit: Williams Racing

Logan Sargeant — Williams Racing

“It’s always special to race around the streets of Monaco. The track is incredibly narrow, leaving no margin for error, so it’s crucial to build up confidence during the Free Practice sessions. 

“Securing track position is key with it being difficult to overtake, making Qualifying in Monaco one of the most important of the season. We’ll be looking to take advantage of any opportunities as a team.”

Valtteri Bottas — Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber

“Monaco is special, in every way. It’s such a throwback to a different era of motorsport, both in terms of the circuit itself and of everything that takes place around the event: it’s a big date on the calendar and one that is always enjoyable. Plus, living in Monaco itself, I get to go home every evening, which is something you definitely don’t get to do in any other race in the season! 

“Monaco is a big challenge for a driver: it’s a place that not only requires technique and precision – it also demands absolute mental focus for every inch of tarmac.

“There is not a single place where you can relax or shift your attention to something else – and every mistake is punished: it’s tough, but it’s a fun challenge. 

“Also, while qualifying is crucial in every race, in Monaco it acquires an even more pivotal role: add to this the weather, which can change often and suddenly, and you have so many elements of potential jeopardy in one single race. This is what makes this race what it is, and it’s a challenge I relish.”

Zhou Guanyu — Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber 

“Racing in Monte Carlo is one of the things you dream of when you’re a child aiming for Formula One: it’s one of the most special moments in the season, it’s a race even non-fans would know about, and I am really looking forward to doing it again this weekend. 

“Imola was a tough weekend but one that has at least given us lessons to learn for the future: while Monaco is a completely different track layout, there are still many elements we can implement to improve and boost our competitiveness. 

“Here, more than anywhere else, qualifying is a massive part of your end result, so it’ll be important to hit the ground running from the very first session and maximise all we can in practice, so that we can be prepared for Saturday. 

“Even then, this is a track that can throw surprises at every corner: a Safety Car is never too far, so strategy may also provide opportunities. We will need to be prepared for anything that may happen, but I am confident we can play our cards right.”

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