Bob Bell’s Monaco Musings

What do you need?
Monaco’s less about what’s needed from the car, it’s more about what’s needed from the driver who needs to keep it on the track, keep away from the walls and let the circuit get faster and faster. The main focus is ensuring the drivers get as much time as possible to build their confidence on the circuit and learn from the track surface evolution.

Three tyres and a seriously evolving track means lots to do?
It does leave us with a little more work to do as there is an extra compound to be thinking about, especially at a track where the surface evolves – and therefore how the tyre compound works with the surface changes. Monaco is prone to massive evolution and that is a big factor in set-up and strategy considerations.

Car setup?
It used to be a circuit where you’d bolt on a lot of high downforce elements to the car but now a high downforce configuration is de rigueur in a lot of circuits so this isn’t something we’re so concerned with as a team anymore.

We do use revised suspension to give additional lock for Loews, but that’s the same every year – it’s not as if it’s a surprise. As it’s a low speed track, aero is of less relative importance, all we have to do is ensure the car is reasonably well balanced, the braking is good, the traction is strong, cooling is under control. It’s really more about managing the car and giving the driver a predictable car without any surprises.

Test progress?
105 laps on the first day, 122 on the second gave us plenty to be working on. We ticked off everything we had planned to do. We weren’t looking at particular headline-grabbing times, it was all about assessing the upgrades we had in a methodical manner.