Monaco: Not just low-speed grip

Monaco is no doubt the crown jewel of the F1 calendar and as a tight street circuit, low-speed grip is at a premium…or is it? Adrian Newey, Red Bull CTO, says that Monaco is not just about low-speed grip:

“It is a misconception that Monaco is a very low-speed circuit. Obviously in average lap speed it is, but there are some reasonably quick corners here so downforce is important.”

This need for downforce just may play into the hands of the RBR squad this weekend as they will unveil their new dual diffuser which has been blamed for Brawn GP’s raging success this year and the mother of all ground effect devices. Adrian feels it may help but he is not convinced it is the magic bullet of performance saying, “It should bring a bit”, but the real risk is not trying something out for the first time but trying it on both cars in the same race:

“Yes, we’ve got the double diffuser, We are going to fit it on both cars, and see how we get on. We run load cells to try and measure the downforce of the car around the circuit, and if at the end of the session we have concerns then we will review the rest of the weekend”.

“There is an element of risk in putting it on both cars, in terms of, does it perform as predicted by the wind tunnel? Is there a mechanical problem that we have not thought of that causes the cars to break down? But we’ve decided to take that risk – as we would rather find out about it”.

“The other thing is that if we had only put it on one car, then Murphy’s Law around here dictates that that will be the car that ends up in the wall on the first lap and we won’t learn anything about it. That is why we will fit it on both cars.”

Can RBR gather the data needed to determine if the Newey Dual Diffuser is the key to their improved chances of winning this year on much longer and faster circuits? Is Monaco the right track to use the Dual Diffuser for the first time and on both cars? Care to second guess the master of aero? I tend to think time is short and any advantage gained is worth the risk if RBR hope to continue racing in the penumbra of Brawn GP…perhaps even have a chance to see the light of day should the dual diffuser add the performance needed to win. My vote? Let Fly!

Monaco is about qualifying, however, and so far Sebastian Vettel has been doing well in this proverbial measuring-stick session. Beating Mark Webber handedly this year in qualifying, Vettel may have a chance to slot in the front row and give the Brawns a run for their money. Master tactician Ross Brawn knows all to well how to win here so this weekend should be an exercise in tactics, grip, aero and guts…oh, and Adrian Sutil getting punted from behind. Just saying…

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