Monaco: Explosions and weather woes

2012-05-25 14:10

MONTE CARLO, Monaco - Controlled explosions by security forces, train strikes, overbearing officials and unpredictable tyres have created a tense atmosphere ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix.

A small white plastic box was destroyed at the paddock entrance on May 24 and thousands of spectators were squashed underground waiting for a train to arrive in the Mediterranean principality.

Two weeks on from the fire that engulfed the Williams garage in Spain, where Pastor Maldonado became the first Venezuelan to win a GP, and a month after the controversial fiasco that was the Bahrain GP, the biggest challenge facing the future of the sport remains - its future.


F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone is attempting to put together a deal that will see a reconstruction of the business, amid fears that Mercedes is poised to exit.
The short and long-term future for F1 is no easier to predict than who could win the May 27 race.

Given that the 78-lap contest is normally a procession of cars with varying degrees of performance and rising levels of frustration due to the challenge of overtaking on such a narrow and barrier-lined track, the driver who gets pole will be favourite to win.

The first practice sessions, run in variable conditions, saw Jenson Button end up fastest in his McLaren ahead of the Lotus' Romain Grosjean. For many fans it is their team mates who are favoured to triumph - Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen.

Hamilton, the 2008 champion, has yet to win in 2012 but he is the bookmakers' choice to take the top step of the podium. He could become the sixth different winner in six races.

Hamilton said: "I am not going to think about it too much. I want to win. I need to be calm and consistent and do the job. It is down to the driver who makes the best of the conditions and nails a good lap when he can."

If Raikkonen, the 2007 champion, it will create the same extraordinary scenario.


Red Bull chief Christian Horner said: "This is just such a fantastic race to win, as we have the last couple of years but this time it is so difficult to predict. Nobody knows. Even the weather is so variable so anything can happen."

The climate of the principality in 2012 has been at its most capricious and left frowns on the faces of everyone in the pit lane. Teams already concerned by performance of Pirelli's "super-soft" tyres, will now have a lot more to consider.

Stay with Wheels24 for the Monaco Grand Prix weekend!