Cosworth’s Guide to the Monaco Grand Prix

Monaco Grand Prix from an Engine’s Perspective
“Monaco is arguably the circuit which generates the most superlatives of the season; it is the shortest lap of any circuit on the calendar and the shortest race distance of the year, the race has the highest number of laps but the slowest average speed. It is also widely recognized as the most challenging race of the season from a driver’s point of view.

A maximum downforce circuit, it is not one of the toughest tracks on the calendar in terms of outright engine power – with just half the lap spent at full throttle – but it is still a rigorous test of an engine’s performance. The lack of any long straights and the number of low speed corners means that cooling becomes a critical issue. The engine homologation regulations prevent the addition of any special engine cooling devices for this race, so cool or wet weather conditions would be welcome to prevent the engine overheating.

Drivers need to find a good rhythm to put a good lap time together, which requires good drivability from the engine, good traction through the slow corners and quick acceleration in the low speed gear range. While Monaco often allows drivers to shine, the finer points of engine performance can make a noticeable difference to the lap time, and when overtaking is so tough, a good qualifying time will be crucial. There is also the added pressure of being a street circuit; the bumpy nature of the track puts all elements from the driver, car and engine under added pressure which can certainly take its toll over 78 grueling laps."

Fast Fact
The longest part of Monaco spent at full throttle is through the famous tunnel, 500 meters in length and less than 10 seconds in duration, equating to around one-seventh of the entire lap. Even when cars are able to open the throttle, the air is not sufficiently ‘clean’ to aid cooling as efficiently as desired.

This Weekend in History… 15 May 1983
Keke Rosberg guided his Cosworth-powered Williams to victory around the streets of Monaco 27 years ago this Saturday, winning by an 18 second margin from Nelson Piquet. Only the top four cars finished on the same lap.

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