With the Made in Italy Grand Prix at Imola definitively archived due to its cancellation caused by bad weather and floods plaguing the Emilia-Romagna region, Formula 1 has already begun its journey towards the Principality of Monaco, where the next Grand Prix will take place in seven days.
A weekend that, in fact, represents a unique event within the calendar of the world championship circus and certainly doesn’t need any introductions given its historical significance and glamour.
However, the uniqueness of the Monte Carlo event is not only represented by its surroundings but also, if not mainly, by the substance of the Grand Prix itself, starting with the layout of the track that is in complete contrast with modern circuits and cars.
A confirmation that, at least in recent seasons, has led the race to lose its value in terms of excitement, turning qualifying into the true highlight of the weekend, the moment when the stage for success is set. Recent history teaches us that, barring completely unpredictable events, the pole-sitter rarely loses the race: once the pole position is secured, more than half of the work is already done.
This is a factor on which Scuderia Ferrari relies significantly to lay the foundation for a hypothetical first victory of the 2023 Formula 1 season. In fact, as written by Formula 1 journalist and expert Roberto Chinchero in his article published on ‘Motorsport.com’, the Prancing Horse could leverage its strength in qualifying to place the cars at the front and manage the race, despite not having a pace comparable to that of its rivals, especially Red Bull.
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Ferrari sees the possibility of making a significant move. In the race weekends held so far, the SF-23 single-seater has shown various weaknesses in race management but has proven to be very competitive in qualifying. On all the other tracks on the calendar, this fluctuation in performance is not a big deal, but in Monaco, it becomes a wildcard that can be crucial for the Italian side.
An advantage in qualifying is added to what has been, at least until now, the added value for Maranello: Charles Leclerc’s killer instinct on a flying lap.
“Within the Scuderia’s package, there is also the asset of Leclerc. Charles has few rivals on a single lap, even more so on the beloved track.”
As mentioned, by securing pole position, unlike on other circuits, Ferrari could still perform well in Monaco despite having an SF-23 that is not on par with its rivals. In the Monegasque rollercoaster, tire degradation (one of Ferrari’s main issues) has an almost insignificant impact on overall performance.
“In Monaco, the ‘tire’ variable is not present, degradation is practically negligible, and even if the race pace is not the best, overtaking for those chasing is practically impossible. There are recent examples as well. In 2018, Daniel Ricciardo managed to win the race despite his Red Bull experiencing a hybrid power unit issue from the 28th lap.”
The only variable, as mentioned at the beginning, could be unforeseen circumstances, mechanical failures, or driving and tactical errors (as unfortunately happened to the Maranello team last season).
“The only variable that can make the leader’s life more difficult comes in the form of unforeseen circumstances. […] As for the rest, undercut and overcut maneuvers are not as efficient as on other tracks, partly due to the reduced length of the circuit.”
May 19, 2023
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