Monaco GP 2023: Unravelling the Uniqueness of Formula 1’s Most Iconic Venue

Monaco GP 2023: Unravelling the Uniqueness of Formula 1’s Most Iconic Venue

Ero Samson
  • Formula 1 heads to the streets of Monaco for the sixth Grand Prix of 2023
  • The Monaco Grand Prix comes after the season took a two-week break
  • Ferrari are without a victory at the Formula 1 race in Monaco since 2017

Formula 1 resumes its 2023 season at the most famous track on the calendar, with the chasing pack looking to halt Red Bull's early-season dominance.

Mercedes are so far set to don a new sidepod and a few other teams have made upgrades to their vehicles.

The unique nature of the Circuit de Monaco makes it somewhat of an outlier, where form can go out the window and the crucial qualifier on Saturdays often proving decisive.

Formula 1, F1, Monaco GP
The Monaco Grand Prix comes after Formula 1 took a two-week break. Image: Hasan Bratic.
Source: Getty Images

Red Bull have so far been untouchable this season, winning each of the opening five races on the F1 calendar.

However, Aston Martin, Ferrari, and Mercedes are all likely to see this as their best chance to upset world championship leader, Max Verstappen and his teammate, Sergio Perez.

The cancellation of last weekend's Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix due to flooding in northern Italy means the unveiling of Mercedes' highly anticipated upgrades will come in Monaco, adding further intrigue to the highly anticipated race weekend.

With all that to look forward to, SkySports offers the perfect advice on how drivers can approach the spectacular Monaco GP challenge.

Monaco different to other circuits?

Monaco is one of the last great challenges in Formula 1.

In a world where circuits are significantly sanitised compared to what they were in the 1980s or 1990s, as well as drivers tackling a street circuit where the walls are close and the track is narrow, this Grand Prix event has become both extremely rewarding and exceptionally challenging.

Then there is also the history of the principality to consider.

Formula 1, F1, Monaco GP
Formula 1 heads to Monaco for the sixth race of this season. Image: Emmanuele Ciancaglini.
Source: Getty Images

Drivers prepare for Monaco as one does for any street circuit in the sense that it is more about building rhythm and confidence.

To be quick around a street circuit, racers need to read track conditions, study the track evolution, understand when to take risks, and avoid trying to hammer the best lap time off the bat.

Drivers also want to avoid taking risks in Practice Three, which could put them out of qualifying, as has happened to Fernando Alonso and Verstappen in the past.

Preparing for street circuits like Monaco requires drivers to understand they are builder-uppers, unlike Barcelona or Silverstone, where one gives it throttle from the opening lap.

Monaco GP's specific driving style

Finding the balance between being comfortable with the car being up against the barriers, and controlled aggression with the pace on, is what most drivers will be up against in the Monaco GP.

Drivers have to carry momentum through the fast corners around the Hotel de Paris, Massenet, Tabac, and the swimming pool section.

Formula 1, F1, Monaco GP
F1 begins the European season with the Monaco GP. Image: Eric Alonso.
Source: Getty Images

However, this requires discipline around the middle sector of the lap through Mirabeau, the Fairmont Hairpin, Portier, and the last two corners: Rascasse and Antony Noghes.

Drivers have got to be of this focused mindset, especially during track areas where they have to flick their thoughts between being aggressive and holding back.

Monaco is an intense driving experience, one that requires racers to be in a strong mental space.

Monaco upset on the cards?

The Monaco GP offers the chasing pack a chance to jostle Red Bull Racing. This team has an extraordinary car that works well everywhere but looking at their advantage over the opposition, a decent chunk of it has come from straight-line performance as well.

The Ferraris and Aston Martins have got pure downforce and good ability to rotate in slow-speed corners, with there being plenty of those in this F1 race.

Charles LeClerc has been able to put in amazing qualifying laps around Monaco, including last year. He is motivated on home ground and is coming off the back of a brilliant couple of qualifying laps in Baku as well.

Qualifying is absolutely imperative in Monte Carlo.

Formula 1, F1, Monaco GP
A specific driving style is required at the Monaco GP. Image: Rudy Carezzevoli.
Source: Getty Images

Ferrari’s strategy failed the Monagasc last year, despite taking pole position, and that illustrates there is every chance of an upset.

The Monaco Grand Prix is full of surprises, and anything and everything should be expected this weekend.

Recent winners of Monaco GP

2022: Sergio Perez, Red Bull

2021: Max Verstappen, Red Bull

2019: Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes

2018: Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull

2017: Sebastien Vettel, Ferrari

Ferrari sets sights on Hamilton

Earlier, Sports Brief reported that Ferrari could offer Lewis Hamilton $50 million to leave Mercedes for the Scuderia at the end of the season.

The 38-year-old former champ has repeatedly suggested he plans to re-sign with his current team once his contract ends later in the year.

Ferrari’s team principal, Fredrick Vasseur has denied they will move for Hamilton but amid circulating rumours, a team switch seems likely.