Alonso Sets Pace in Monaco
Fernando Alonso made the initial practice sessions for the Monaco Grand Prix Ferrari’s as he became the only driver to tackle the prestigious street-based circuit in under 1:15. Monaco will see a first for Bridgestone, as the manufacturer has brought a non-consecutive dry tyre allocation to Monte Carlo for the 13-16 May weekend.
Bridgestone, which may yet still be involved in Formula One next season, with supply talks ongoing with “up to six” companies involved, has taken its medium and super soft compound Potenzas to tackle the slippery 3.34km street course. The circuit is the shortest on the calendar, with a polished smooth track surface between the unyielding Armco barriers. It also possesses the lowest average speed due to its tight and twisty nature.
Hiroshi Yasukawa, director of Bridgestone Motorsport, is impressed by the glamour and status lent to those taking part in F1’s most famous race weekend: “The Monaco Grand Prix is an extremely prestigious event and one which we know as the jewel in the crown of the Formula One calendar. Television figures for this race are always very good, and this gives us a superb platform to promote our brand. The Bridgestone branding we have at the first corner of the circuit is seen all around the world and it is fantastic to be associated with this great event. We are very happy to be part of this race and to see Bridgestone’s tyres contribute to the amazing spectacle we will all see.”
Hirohide Hamashima, director of Motorsport Tyre Development, was more concerned by the difficulties presented to the teams in racing on roads open to the general public: “The street course in Monaco is a difficult circuit for drivers and tyre engineers. It is made up of public roads which uniquely are still used by the public over the course of a Grand Prix weekend. This means that track evolution is not the same as we would see at other venues. The actual track surface is very smooth as it is polished by the use of road vehicles, and finding grip is a priority for drivers.
“After reviewing last year’s data and because of the changes in positioning for our compounds this season, we can use the super soft and medium at Monaco. In higher temperatures with a good track surface our medium compound should work very well and combined with the super soft we are confident about this allocation. However, we must also remember that we have had many exciting wet races in Monaco in the past, and the unforgiving nature of the barriers is often experienced.” Should preliminary weather forecasts turn out to be accurate, Sunday may yet yield another wet race for competitors.
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