Fresh from testing at the Circuit Paul Ricard in Le Castellet, Team SAUBER PETRONAS is ready for the sixth round of the 2005 FIA
Formula One World Championship, the prestigious Monaco Grand Prix in Monte Carlo.
Willy Rampf (Technical Director): "Monaco
is a great challenge, both to the drivers and to the engineers. It is a maximum downforce circuit, and we will be bringing a revised
aero package to Monte Carlo to achieve this. Unlike other tracks, the speeds are relatively low so that pure efficiency is less
important than outright downforce. "Traction is also crucial. The C24 is much improved in that respect, and we are
continually refining our traction control settings, but you need to make sure the engine does not suffer. The track is also tough on
the drivetrain; due to the high number of corners and the associated braking and acceleration, we have more gear changes there than
anywhere else. Among other modifications are revised front suspension geometry to facilitate more steering lock specifically for
this track, and further refinement of the power steering. "The brake material for this track has to offer a high level of
controllability and consistency to avoid severe wheel locking, but also needs good performance as there is no long straight to cool
down. Tyre wear could be an issue as we use the softest tyre compounds of the whole year. The track itself only offers low grip as
it is used for public traffic. "Overall, our target is to combine good grip and traction with neutral handling balance. The
car needs to behave with precision because the run-off areas are very limited, and they are one-way!"
Villeneuve (138 GPs, 5 points 2005): "I've been looking forward to racing in Monaco for weeks! It's a great circuit and
just the kind of challenge I like. "Our car was very good in Imola, and even though Spain was a disappointment my tyres were
great the whole race in Barcelona. We will be able to get away with running softer compounds in Monaco, so I'm looking forward to
being able to fight hard there."
Felipe Massa (39 GPs, 2 points 2005): "Monaco can be a funny track. I
never drove a car there yet that had a really comfortable set-up, though last year things were reasonable and I scored points for
fifth because I was able to get to the finish. It's one of those places where you can often score provided you get to the end, even
if you are not fast. It's very easy to crash there; in 2002 I had a big shunt at Ste Devote after a brake problem. To go fast you
have to go close to the wall every lap, so you are always right on the edge. "It's also even harder to overtake there than
it is at Imola. The Tunnel isn't really straight enough to line up a pass, and generally speaking you can only pass if the guy in
front makes a mistake. But you do get a buzz driving there, though you soon get used to the feeling after your first few laps on the
limit. The problem is finding that limit without stepping over it, because if you go over you crash. Simple as that. I did spin once
in the chicane without hitting anything, and on the exit to the Swimming Pool, but that was pure luck!"
Castellet Test, 11 - 13 May 2005
Team SAUBER PETRONAS conducted a three-day test from 11 to 13 May at the Circuit Paul
Ricard in Le Castellet. On Wednesday Felipe Massa did the driving before Jacques Villeneuve took over for the remaining two days.
They covered altogether 381 laps (1,455.510 km, 904.381 miles) with best times of 1:05.414s (3.593 km track), 1:02.596s (3.551 km
track) and 1:27.011s (5.216 km track). They evaluated new aerodynamic parts and worked with Michelin on the tyre selection for
Monaco and Montreal. In addition, they ran medium downforce programmes in preparation for the Canadian and US Grands Prix in June.
Team SAUBER PETRONAS will be testing again from 1 to 3 June in Monza.