F1 2021
Round 5

Honda F1 Return To Monaco

mc Circuit de Monaco

This weekend Formula 1 returns to the streets of Monaco, having been absent from the reorganised 2020 schedule. Sunday will not only see Honda powered cars take on 78 laps of the 3.3km track, but also another return to the grandstands for the fans.

Honda F1 Return To Monaco

Home to some of the most famous racing corners and locations in the world, the prestigious Monte-Carlo circuit challenges drivers as they tackle the iconic Swimming Pool and battle it out around the glamorous Casino Square.

The last running of the Monaco Grand Prix in 2019 saw Max Verstappen cross the line in P2, however having been dealt a time penalty in the race after contact with Bottas in the pits, he was demoted back to P4. The team's last top-three finish here came in 2004, with Jenson Button claiming a P2 finish. This weekend we'll be aiming to take home more silverware, as the battle between the Bulls and Silver Arrows continues on into round 5.

Pierre had a solid P5 finish here in 2019, which we're sure will give the young Frenchman confidence around one of his favourite circuits on the calendar. Whilst Yuki has never driven here, we're confident he will get up to speed quickly and we will be working with him to help get as much performance as possible from his car's package.

Toyoharu Tanabe
Toyoharu Tanabe
Honda Racing F1
This weekend sees Formula 1 return to the historic Monaco venue for the first time since 2019, as last year’s event was cancelled because of the pandemic. The narrow roads of this street circuit with plenty of low speed corners, combined with its glamorous location mean that it is a very special event on the Formula 1 calendar. From a Honda perspective, we can look back at many memorable moments and fantastic wins here. It is said that the circuit characteristics mean that driver ability counts for a bigger part of the result than at other tracks. Therefore on the Power Unit side, we have worked on ensuring that we can provide good driveability and throttle response to match the drivers’ inputs. To do this we have studied past data, as well as each of our four drivers’ individual styles to ensure that all of them can have a strong weekend. Both our teams have demonstrated they have a good performance level and we hope that they can confirm that in Monaco, making a step forward in terms of results.

Sergio Perez
Sergio Perez 11
Red Bull Racing
It was a tough weekend and it was compromised by the poor performance on Saturday in qualifying, I wasn’t one hundred percent physically so I did struggle but I’m back to full fitness now. Looking ahead I’m getting more comfortable with the car so I hope we are able to show that in Monaco and put in a good performance on Saturday. I’m excited to race there especially as we weren’t able to last year. Historically Red Bull has been strong in Monaco so I hope we are able to fight for the win. You need a lot of confidence with the car there because the margin for error is so small. I’m feeling more confident with the car so I hope I am able to show that throughout the weekend. I’m also looking forward to seeing the fans, the atmosphere is so different without them. It’s very important to maximise weekend after weekend. There are big challenges ahead and the season is very long so it requires everyone to be at one hundred percent to bring that championship home.

Pierre Gasly
Pierre Gasly 10
Scuderia AlphaTauri
Looking back to Spain it was quite a tough weekend, especially as Qualifying was not straightforward. I missed out on Q3 by just two hundredths of a second, which is not very much at all, and meant it was the first time this season that I’ve not been in the top ten on the grid. I was disappointed, partly because it shows that some of the other teams are evolving and improving, the gaps are really very small now. We know we really have to optimise everything to be in the midfield fight. Then the race saw us lose seconds here and there and I was as low as 15th, but the final stint was encouraging, overtaking quite a few cars. One more lap and it could have been ninth, it would definitely have been doable without the penalty. There are some positives and the potential is there, but with a couple of teams making a step forward we know we have to work hard if we are going to continue to fight with them over the rest of the season. It’s impossible to be faultless in any form of motorsport, but we need to try and do things perfectly and to find more speed if we want to score bigger points each weekend.
As for Monaco, it’s a circuit that I really like a lot and I’m very happy to be going back there, after we were unable to do so last year. It’s a very special track, absolutely nothing like the first four we have raced on this year. The street circuit presents several unique challenges, starting with a lack of grip, so I hope we will get to understand how our car behaves as quickly as possible, working out what we need to do to be quick and to continue our run of points finishes.
In Monaco, it’s important to get as much track time as possible, but I don’t feel the shorter Friday practice sessions will be a problem because this year we are now used to doing as many laps as in the past, by spending less time in the garage. Of course, at Monaco you always need a little bit of time to adapt, to play with finding the limits of your car and getting as close as possible to the walls, then gradually building up your confidence levels through each session. And then you give it everything on Saturday afternoon because we know that Qualifying is 95% of the race result.
They are allowing a limited number of spectators for this race, which will be great, but the overall weekend will not have the same hectic schedule we always had to deal with in Monaco in the past. So, I’m hoping I might get some time to relax and maybe play a bit of Paddle Tennis with Charles on Friday morning, if we’re not too busy, although we will have the usual engineering meetings that afternoon.

Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen 33
Red Bull Racing
I feel good about it, but as a Team it wasn’t the smoothest weekend, we definitely lacked pace throughout the race. It is what it is and we still secured second place and good points for the Team. It’s still early in the season so we just have to make sure that we keep pushing and applying the pressure and start winning some more races. We are always analysing and pushing ourselves to the maximum. I think our tyre degradation but also the general pace of the car wasn’t good enough to really challenge Mercedes in Barcelona. I got ahead of Lewis in Turn 1 but if I hadn’t, he would have just driven off so leading the race for so long made it look tougher to lose out on the win. We just need to keep on improving. The Monaco Grand Prix is always very special, it’s very different to other tracks, the circuit is very narrow but also amazing to drive over one lap in qualifying. You can really feel when you have got it all hooked up and the lap is going to be a good one - that makes you smile. I’ve never been on the podium in Monaco so I would like to change that! We just need to have a clean weekend, I think that is very important. We’ll see if we are fast or not but so far in qualifying we have been quite close so I just hope it’s going to be the same in Monaco. I know very well that there is no margin for error in Monaco (laughs), we just have to make sure we nail it on Saturday. Of course then on Sunday it is usually straight forward as overtaking is so difficult but a lot of things can happen. We need to be at our best now on Saturday and Sunday to make sure we are on the top step of the podium.

Yuki Tsunoda
Yuki Tsunoda 22
Scuderia AlphaTauri
I’m looking forward to Monaco, particularly as Spain was a difficult weekend for me. I was not happy with my driving in Qualifying and made a mistake, but I must learn to accept that these things can happen and move on. I have only done four race weekends in F1 so far and now I am just resetting my mind. I am focussing on my driving and adapting as much as possible to the car. A couple of days after Spain, it was my 21st birthday but I didn’t do anything special: a Covid swab in the morning, followed by a gym session - a normal day in the office!

I’ve never raced in Monaco in any category, but I have raced in Macau for example, so I have quite a bit of experience on street circuits. They’re okay. You need a very different approach on a street circuit like Monaco, especially considering I have never been there before. Track evolution is a big factor there, with very low grip at first and then it changes with every session. The key will be not to make any mistakes in FP1 or FP2 in order to maximise my time on track.
There are many unusual factors about this weekend and it was only while we were in Spain that I learned that you practice on Thursday with no track time on Friday. I will have to make sure I do not lose focus or concentration, but I’m sure I can adapt. I have spent a lot of time on the simulator to prepare. Our car has not always been at its best in the slow corners, which is what we will face in Monaco, but I think that even if the car is obviously important, the main factor will be how much I can adapt to the track. During practice I will be trying to give the engineers as much good feedback as possible to help them set up the car, while I focus just on my driving. Qualifying will be about having confidence in the car, because that is even more important than usual on a street circuit.

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