Friday, 14 May 2010

68th Monaco Grand Prix 2010

According to a report in yesterday's edition of The Monaco Times ......

The Grand Prix circus rolled into town on Monday, straight from the Spanish event which was won in fine style by the Aussie Mark Webber for Red Bull Racing. Petrol heads have four days of (almost) non-stop action ahead of them starting today in the streets of Monaco, culminating with the Formula One race on Sunday.

This is the one they all want to win. Physically and mentally demanding, the tortuous city circuit with its famous Spéluges hairpin bend is deemed the most challenging of them all. Drivers have to stay focused for 78 laps (circuit length: 3.340 km) over a total distance of 260.520 km. Yes, it is shorter than all the others whose circuits are over 300 km (50 to 60 laps) but the narrowness of the streets, the tightness of the turns and the proximity of the colourful crowds combine to create an extraordinary tension.

Adding spice to the season is the decision to ban refuelling during the race, which has shifted the focus onto tyre strategy leading to some thrilling climaxes in rain-affected races (notably Australia and Shanghai) with drivers on older tyres holding off faster cars on newer ones. British driver Jenson Button, driving for McLaren, has done best in the rain so far this season, when it comes to what tyres to use, which has given him the edge. He currently leads the championship.

The Milton Keynes-based Red Bull Racing team of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber have raced superbly on dry tracks but their cars struggle to perform so well in the rain. With showery cloudy weather forecast for today and Friday, brightening up for the all important grid qualification sessions on the Saturday and the F1 race on the Sunday, anything could happen.

Traffic chaos: inevitably there is bound to be disruption on the roads over the four days as the circuit is closed all day Thursday, half day Friday, and all day Saturday and Sunday. Local buses, the Nice Airport-Monaco-Menton bus and the Nice bus station-Menton bus station via the Basse Corniche 100 are all forced to take slightly different routes, so be prepared. The best bet is to take the train as extra services are added to the schedule, especially on the Sunday to ease road congestion.

There are still tickets available from the Automobile Club stands (Place d’Armes and bottom of rue Grimaldi). Prices have changed little in the last four years for the 20,000+ seats which range from about 250 up to 450 euros (85 euros to go up on the Rock overlooking the port). According to the Automobile Club sales this year have remained stable, although they were down 20 per cent in 2009 compared to 2008. (Source Monaco Times)

What a difference in the ticket price from The Historic Monaco Grand Prix on the 1st and 2nd of May. Here you paid €35 euros on the Sunday and €25 on the Saturday with youngsters under 15 going free if accompanied by an adult.

The programme for the four days of the 2010 Monaco Grand Prix looks like this:

BBC Television covers the Formula 1 practise sessions, qualifying and the race and the Thursday sessions below were shown on the "Red button" intercative service. The weather yesterday was dry and sunny. The forecast for Saturday and Sunday is partly cloudy on Saturday around 18 degrees ans sunny on Sunday around 19 degrees. Not excactly a heatwave, but at least dry as the region has had a lot of rain this year.

Thursday 13 May Circuit closed from 7am to 6.30pm

8.30am to 9.15am –practice session Renault 3.5

10am to 11.30am – 1st practice session F1

12 noon to 12.30pm – practice sessions GP2

2pm to 3.30pm – 2nd practice session F1

4.15pm to 4.45pm – qualifying sessions GP2

5.20pm to 6.05pm - practice sessions Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup

Friday 14th May Circuit closed 7am to 1.30pm

9.30am to 10.15am – Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup (qualification sessions)

11.15am to 12.30pm – GP2 1st race (45 laps or 75 minutes)

Saturday 15th May Circuit closed 6am to 7pm

7.45am to 8.45am – Pit stop sessions F1

9am to 9.25am – Renault 3.5 qualifying session Series A

9.30am to 9.55am – Renault 3.5 qualifying session Series B

11am to 12 noon – 3rd practice session F1

2pm to 3pm – qualifying sessions F1

4pm to 4.50pm – GP2 second race (25 laps or 45 minutes)

Sunday 16th May Circuit closed 7am to 7pm

9.45am to 10.20am – Porsche Mobil SuperCup (6 laps or 30 minutes)

11.10am to 12 noon – Renault 3.5 (25 laps or 45 minutes)

12.30pm – driver parade F1

2pm – 68th Grand Prix de Monaco (78 laps or 2 hours)

Should be great to watch either live at Monaco or via your TV with broadcasters like BBC (No ads! brilliant) TF1, Setanta Ireland, RTL and loads more

1. Mark Webber
2. Sebastian Vettel
3. Robert Kubica
4. Felipe Massa
5. Lewis Hamilton
6. Fernando Alonso
7. Nico Rosberg
8. Adrian Sutil

The first Grand Prix was raced in 1929 at a time when the world championship did not exist. The race was held for the next eight years before the Second World War broke out and interrupted the racing calendar. Three more races took place between 1948 and 1952 before Monaco became a permanent fixture in the racing calendar and one of the most spectacular.

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