Schumacher: Driving at Monaco is worth the risk

2012 Monaco Grand Prix

Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Monaco, 2011Michael Schumacher admits Monaco does not match the safety standards set by other tracks, but says the satisfaction of driving there is worth the risk.

“Monaco is just a circuit of its own very unique character,” he said in Mercedes’ pre-race preview.

“In a way, you could look at it with a big portion of irony with regards to the contradiction that, for so many years we have successfully campaigned for more track safety, and then we deliberately race in Monaco.

“But in my view this is justifiable once a year, especially as the circuit is really so much fun to drive. Every time you go there, you just look forward to finally getting out and driving the track.”

Sergio Perez was injured during qualifying for last year’s race when he crashed at the chicane. The Sauber driver missed the next two races.

Schumacher faces an added challenge this year in the form of a grid penalty following his collision with Bruno Senna in the Spanish Grand Prix:

“Of course, knowing that I will lose five positions on the grid does not add to this feeling but this just means that I will have to try even harder,” he said.

“I’m actually quite confident that we should look reasonably good in Monaco due to the hard work that everybody in the team is putting into the development of our car. So let’s make the best out of the weekend.”

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33 comments on Schumacher: Driving at Monaco is worth the risk

  1. Mallesh Magdum (@malleshmagdum) said on 18th May 2012, 10:44

    I believe the cars are so safe these days that it negates any danger the circuit poses

    • PJ (@pjtierney) said on 18th May 2012, 10:46

      Driver has Webber/Kovalainen accident on run into Tabac/Swimming Pool, ends up in the harbour.

      Never get complacent.

      • dennis (@dennis) said on 18th May 2012, 11:06

        There’s a bunch of divers around the whole harbour area to help drivers out of their cars.
        Admittedly it won’t be pleasant to go into the drink strapped to an F1 car, but (for now) I doubt the outcome would be worse than say Perez’s or Kubica’s accidents.

        • xjr15jaaag (@xjr15jaaag) said on 18th May 2012, 11:21

          Well, they are supposed to be able to release the straps and get out in uner 8 weconds, so I think all they’d have to do is as soon as the car hits the drink, undo the straps, and swim out

          • matt90 (@matt90) said on 18th May 2012, 11:28

            I also wouldn’t be surprised to find the cars have a reasonable level of buoyancy and wouldn’t sink too quickly assuming they didn’t nose dive in.

          • Adam (@akitch1275) said on 18th May 2012, 11:33

            I wouldn’t be so sure that it would be that easy. Don’t forget that hitting water at 60 mph water has the consistency of concrete, so it could injure the drivers worse than hitting the fancy barriers that Perez hit.

          • matt90 (@matt90) said on 18th May 2012, 11:38

            Yes, but not really any worse than landing on the tarmac, as Webber did in Valencia initially. The only difference would be that the water being an extra couple of feet down from the road might mean they land in a different, potentially more damaging, way due to chance. I don’t know how an F1 car would behave if it was skimming the surface of the water and ‘dug in’, but that is probably taking the situation to a level of hypotheticality far beyond we need to go.

          • John H (@john-h) said on 18th May 2012, 15:55

            It’s a lot different @matt90 because as opposed to tarmac, the roll hoop wouldn’t do anything in the sea.

          • matt90 (@matt90) said on 19th May 2012, 12:21

            Sorry I didn’t make that clear, but I was more thinking of an F1 car skimming water digging in more like on gravel or grass.

        • Joey-Poey (@joey-poey) said on 18th May 2012, 16:49

          As much as they practice and prepare, the danger and risk is still there and very real. Not to mention there are so many variables that you cannot predict everything that could happen in that situation. If a driver is knocked unconscious, that’s an added level of difficulty in removing them. If multiple cars go in, that means multiple teams must work at once. As much as they’ve removed danger in many other areas, racing cars is and never will be 100% safe. Racing them in places that were not built specifically for racing especially so.

          That said, I do enjoy Monaco and I do hope they never stop racing there or on other street courses. Drivers have willingly driven them for years and if one ever decides not to on grounds of safety, I won’t hold it against them.

          • Mike (@mike) said on 19th May 2012, 3:39

            Agreed. Monaco as a track is sacred ground. But F1 isn’t safe, and it probably never will be.

  2. Karthikeyan (@ridiculous) said on 18th May 2012, 10:51

    Funny how they can cut back on safety by using the magic word ‘history’

  3. PJ (@pjtierney) said on 18th May 2012, 10:53

    Interesting. If Monaco isn’t safe enough for F1 (it isn’t) yet we still go there because it’s awesome (moreso the history methinks), what’s stopping similar “drivers favourites” from being used then? Granted, the one thing I notice about Monaco is that there’s cranes everywhere, but what’s stopping F1 going to Macau for example (other than money)?

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 18th May 2012, 10:59

      @pjtierney Money’s the only thing that makes F1 go anywhere or stops F1 going anywhere.

      • AJ (@aj13) said on 18th May 2012, 12:09

        I thought Monaco didn’t pay a fee to host F1. Presumably because they can’t afford it and its such a historic circuit we should remember the romance and cut them some slack.

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 18th May 2012, 12:26

          They do, but they get graces other circuits don’t. For example, they retain the right to sell trackside advertising, which is why the ad layouts at Monaco always look a bit different to those at other races.

    • dennis (@dennis) said on 18th May 2012, 11:03

      Apples and Oranges.

      You have a track that’s been part of F1 for over 60 years now, which is also a perfect show-off ground for sponsors and manufacturers. Besides, it’s still (I think) the most watched race of the year. Ripping that out of the calendar would upset 99% of Formula 1 fans, regardless of how much money they make with it.
      Macau would be great, but it’s not Monaco, the same way a red Marussia isn’t a Ferrari.

      I’ll gladly have Monaco and say no to Macau or Pau instead of having no classic street circuit left.

      • JCost (@jcost) said on 18th May 2012, 14:58

        It’s far from being my fave circuit but I would not stomach a season without Monaco. Plus, drivers adore driving around Monte Carlo. (I remember that Schumacher’s brother was not a lover of Monaco)

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 18th May 2012, 16:45

      I guess Macau would give us mainly traffic jams and broken suspensions with F1 cars! Oh, and they are probably not going to give Bernie the money he will be asking.

      But you do put in a very important question @pjtierney, although if its really too dangerous, shouldn’t races like that be run outside of the championship, just for the people wo do fancy a go?

  4. xjr15jaaag (@xjr15jaaag) said on 18th May 2012, 11:22

    I know this is completely unrelated, but an ice race would be awesome to watch

    • matt90 (@matt90) said on 18th May 2012, 11:31

      In F1 I think it would be one of the worst spectacles in motorsport.
      However, if it isn’t F1:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ItlPW82xP0A&feature=relmfu

    • mac_user67 said on 19th May 2012, 0:13

      I was actually thinking about a snow race in f1 a couple of days ago. I think alot of the drivers on the grid would have the skill to link drifts and be as quick as possible (albeit very slow!) But would the cars be capable of driving on snow with a few modifications?

      If so I’d love to see a snow race in f1 however I wouldn’t want to have to lap Karthikeyan though!

  5. Girts (@girts) said on 18th May 2012, 12:06

    And deliberately parking your car in the middle of the circuit surely won’t make it safer, Michael…

    I think that F1 will never be completely safe (unless they decide to limit the maximum speed to 5kph) and that Monaco is just a bit less safe than the modern circuits. Monaco MUST stay in the F1 calendar for many reasons.

  6. TED BELL said on 18th May 2012, 15:20

    Carlos Reuteman once said that driving at Monaco was so challenging that he drove near the point of “blacking out”. I doubt any of us mear mortals can even begin to understand how difficult it is to near the edge of what your machine can do at this amazing place.

  7. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 18th May 2012, 19:59

    He’s probably got a point but the risk factor has to be prevalent to a degree in any race. We shall see how things go next weekend, another accident like last year and serious questions will have to be raised.

  8. Alain (@paganbasque) said on 19th May 2012, 9:38

    To see Michael driving in Monaco is always a pleasure, its a pity he will lost five positions because this race could have been a good oportunity for him to reach the podium, or perhaps a victory.

      • Robbie (@robbie) said on 20th May 2012, 15:02

        After seeing now what MS did in free practice in Spain, he’s lucky to be at Monaco at all…or at least lucky he isn’t starting from the back. Imho he should have gotten a 5 spot penalty in Monaco for his childish behaviour on LH in practice, and then the whack on Senna while already having been penalized (he was in fact reprimanded) should have put him out of Monaco. To me that reprimand should have been like being on parole…one false move once you’re on parole and you’re gone. But thus is the inconsistancy of the stewards.

        I think the other drivers will need to watch out for MS in Monaco…he is going to spend the race weekend frustrated at his penalty, and that wil further add to his mental lapses that he seems prone to when all the stars aren’t line up perfectly.

        • Cx9 said on 24th May 2012, 4:55

          Lucky for F1 the FIA didn’t take your bias account on applying the rule :D. I already explained my opinion on here: http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2012/05/20/f1-fanatic-roundup-205/ and http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2012/05/13/schumacher-fiveplace-grid-penalty-senna-collision/#comment-1010410 judging from the video he didn’t considerate to run into Hamilton, he overshot the corner back to the racing line given Hamilton a hand gesture because he think Hamilton has held him up. And the FIA contrary to your i think exaggerating view think it was minor one :”the FIA stewards agreed that the occurrence was only a minor one.”

          “I think the other drivers will need to watch out for MS in Monaco…he is going to spend the race weekend frustrated at his penalty, and that wil further add to his mental lapses that he seems prone to when all the stars aren’t line up perfectly.”
          Nice exaggerating prediction me think, keep it up :D

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