Are Aston Martin Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow losing belief in chasing Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport?
In a theme that is becoming particularly prevalent across the sporting landscape at this very moment in time, Formula 1 is also seeing one team run away with the Constructor’s Championship, with the unprecedented run of five successive one-two finishes for Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport.
As the Formula 1 season heads to its flagship Grand Prix, the historic ‘Monte Carlo’, we’re left wondering whether either of Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport’s two direct competitors, Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow and Aston Martin Red Bull Racing, are capable of breaking this monopoly this season, and furthermore whether even they believe it’s possible at this point?
Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow made significant changes to their technical and mechanical setup in the build-up to the Spanish GP, yet were unable to unseat the German team. Meanwhile Aston Martin Red Bull Racing Team Principal, Christian Horner, has labelled the championship leaders as ‘exceedingly dominant’.
Aston Martin Red Bull Racing will call upon previous Monaco successes:
The nature of the circuit in Monaco means that performance differentiations between cars make less of an impact on the outcome of the race. Tight corners, the narrow nature of a street circuit and the psychological pressure of emerging from the infamous tunnel running under the Fairmont Hotel on a strong racing line make for a different challenge for drivers this weekend.
Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport’s power and performance will not catapult them into a perfect position as it has for much of the year thus far, and it will be much more a case of driver skill and the aerodynamics of the vehicles.
Aston Martin Red Bull Racing usually produce an excellent chassis design and setup, one which thrives in the Monaco conditions, and with this expected to be the case once more, the team hope to be able to crack the Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport top two.
Daniel Ricciardo took the victory in Monaco last season, proving Aston Martin Red Bull Racing had got their setup well balanced, and despite Horner’s cautionary words about Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport’s dominance, we can expect a strong showing from the Austrian team.
Renault F1 Team hoping Monaco GP will show progress:
It was a race weekend that both Daniel Ricciardo and Niko Hulkenberg will wish to forget, yet the recent race in Barcelona will have done wonders for Renault F1 Team’s overall progress this season. For a team that had hoped to be the fourth best-placed team in the Constructor’s championship, they have fallen slightly short of such expectations, although a lot of that can be put down to acclimatising a new driver pairing, as well as reliability issues.
Spain was the first race of the campaign where both Hulkenberg and Ricciardo were able to complete the race, proving that the team’s work on mechanical changes had been worthwhile. There can be no doubting the natural driving talent in place at the team right now, it’s easy to forget that the Australian driver was predicted to take over from Nico Rosberg as Lewis Hamilton’s long-term adversary, and with the team now having seemingly put reliability issues behind them, he can focus on extracting the maximum out of his car.
In an interview with Autosport, Ricciardo hinted that the team would now seek to improve the car’s power in the coming races, although it may not take place in time for the Monaco GP. “The first step is reliability, but if they see some really good things there, they can certainly turn it into a bit of power,” Ricciardo detailed. “Some materials [have been changed], but for now reliability is the target. If we see it as viable, we’ll then start pushing the power curve, along with other things people are doing in qualifying.”
SportPesa Racing Point F1 Team will improve their understanding of their car after upgrades:
Few could have predicted SportPesa Racing Point F1 Team would have started the season so well, especially given the financial restrictions that limited the team’s development as a direct consequence of the mid-season takeover from Force India during the 2018 season.
Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll have impressed with their individual performances, and such was the good feeling following the opening four races of the campaign, the team began the process of significantly upgrading their mechanical setup. Spain, though, heralded a slight drop in performance with it clear that the sizable change in certain technical aspects left many on both the driving and mechanical sides of the team more than a little confused.
It was by no means a bad performance in Barcelona, but it didn’t fully highlight the truly impressive nature of the upgrades. Such changes take time to adjust to, and with the post-Barcelona tests likely to have seen the team be able to spend more time on refining the upgrades, as well as understanding how they all interact with each other, we can expect to see the increase in performance that we had expected in Spain when SportPesa Racing Point F1 Team touch down at the Circuit de Monaco.
McLaren F1 Team desperately need an improved performance and will hitch their wagon to Carlos Sainz Jr:
Carlos Sainz Jr’s seventh and eighth placed finishes in successive GPs have done much to lift the mood around McLaren F1 Team, and the team are now ready to hitch their wagon to the Spanish talent. McLaren as a whole, it wouldn’t be unfair to say, are in a clear need of some positive PR. Especially after technical problems blighted Fernando Alonso’s qualifying campaign for the Indy 500, with the Spanish legend eventually falling out of the race completely, ending his hopes of completing the triple crown in 2019.
Carlos Sainz Jr is the individual to provide such a positive performance, and you can expect McLaren F1 Team to give everything in Monaco to ensure a points finish at the very least. Sector three times were too slow in Catalonia, and this is an issue which has been looked at during the two-week interval since the race. Whilst Monaco doesn’t necessarily require rip-roaring speed, the aforementioned narrowness of the track and the particularly testing corners could bring out the best of McLaren F1 Team’s setup, as was the case in Baku.