Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Monaco, its not just about the money.

Hello everyone. It's time to put on the best bib and tucker, dust of the loafers and hitch up that winning smile because we're all off the Monaco and the yearly European F1 trade show.

Don't worry about the racing, watch qualifying, that's your winner right there. No need for all that tedious round and round nonsense. Well there's the guessing at what point Maldonado inevitably smears it down the wall but other than that, qualifying will give you all you need.

No, Monaco I'm afraid is an anachronism these days; it's too narrow, has far too little run off to play with. The spectators don't really get to see much, other than who's there and who paid to be next to the Royal pavilion. Singapore meanwhile is fast turning into the city race course it's ok to like these days.

Monaco is little more than a trade show for the B list money men who can't afford to go to Singapore. What used to be the highlight of the social season has turned into an unseemly dash for a shrinking pool of money. The likes of Ferrari, Redbull and Mercedes will wing the super rich to the Raffles hotel for the best night race of the year. But the less financially stable will have reasonably priced boats moored in the Monaco harbour and pray the weather holds all weekend and doesn't upset the middle ranking CEOs and mildly VIP. Some of them might even watch the race, most will be there to be seen and wonder what time the taxi heads back to Nice.

Don't get me wrong here; there are real fans at Monaco. If you look really hard, as the cars turn into the pit entrance there is a slab sided hill off to the right as you look back out to sea. I'm told it's a sheer cliff face; you take your life in your hands getting down there. But it's free, and it affords one of the best views in Formula one.

From there you can practically taste the history of F1 racing. A view out over the harbour that has hardly changed from the days of Fangio and Moss, watch the daredevil drivers threading the eye of the needle through the Armco barriers.  Cars dancing out of Tabac, through the swimming pool complex into La Rascasse, Anthony Noghes and the long curving pit straight.  Those nitwit on the boats don't appreciate what's happening in front of them, the level of skill they could be witness too.
There might not be much overtaking and actual racing, but watch Alonso in a dog of a car, Kimi rekindling his love of racing and Hamilton at the top of his game and be damned impressed for they are gladiators, fighting for our entertainment.

It's looking like it'll be a wet weekend in the south of France, just to add spice to the event. Normally rain levels the playing field and the rubbish cars get a chance to shine. But at Monaco it just makes the whole thing a more of a lottery, skill will still will out and all so that a Merc or two at the front with a Ferrari or Williams shadow no doubt. The rest of the top ten is going to be far trickier to predict.

Force India has two excellent wet weather drivers.
Sauber has a fast car but two so so drivers.
Torro Rosso has thrusting young bucks and a handy little car.
Redbull will be able to turn the wick down and Danny has shone at wet races in the past.  

And what about McLaren ... if they're going to get anything this year, Monaco will be the place it happens. 

Please update your predictions before Wednesday midnight, due to Monaco starting the practice days on Thursday so they can have Friday off to get drunk I think.

Also this weekend in the Indy 500, four corners, speeds over 230 mph and a solid concrete wall if it all goes wrong. Hunt around for live feeds on the internet it might not have the global reach of F1, but those boys are racing at over 200mph 3 wide with no run off to save them. 

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