|Only a week after their successful outing at Barcelona Spain’s Racing Engineering are already prepared for round three of the 2011 GP2 Series to be held at the legendary Circuit de Monaco.
In Barcelona Dani Clos showed he is ready to win races after his excellent second place in the Sunday race and Alvaro Parente, who made his GP2 debut for Racing Engineering last weekend, will once again be team-mate to Clos. Despite having no experience of the 2011 Dallara and its Pirelli tyres the Portuguese driver drove very competitively in both races and will be looking for a good result in Monaco.
Below the president of Racing Engineering, Alfonso de Orléans-Borbón, looks forward to this weekend’s event.
Barcelona was a good weekend for Dani and Alvaro in the Racing Engineering cars. Can you quickly talk us through the weekend?
Well, the first point was to get a good grip on the understanding of the tyres. The engineers worked tirelessly since Istanbul to come up with a good setup for Barcelona. All the hard work paid off and the drivers liked how the car was. We obviously have some more work to do to get it perfect, but we are definitely on the right track. I won't go into any details, but we made quite a few changes that were quite successful at increasing the life of the tyre. Although on the other side of the coin, it has reduced the amount of overtaking that you normally see in GP2 because everyone is trying to not damage their tyres.
Monaco will be different in many aspects; the most obvious one is that this is a street circuit. Could the tyres and their management be a decisive factor again as it's the very first time the super-soft Pirelli compound will be used by the teams?
I have to admit I am quite worried about these super-soft tyres. Will they be able to last the whole race? We only have a limited amount of sets, so if we have to sacrifice free practice to save a set of extra tyres, to make two stops at the first race, this will reduce our running time even further to try to learn about the tyres. It’s a pity we don't have an extra set of tyres or tyres that last longer, because in Monaco, it would make it a more exciting race. But since no one has ever run on these tyres, we have to wait and see. All I am worried about really is the safety factor and that no one ends up running on a totally worn tyre.
Dani claimed the Monaco pole position last year and we know he really likes to race there. For Alvaro it will only be his second GP2 race weekend with Racing Engineering and the new GP2 car. What are Racing Engineering's expectations during the upcoming Monaco event?
Well, let's see if it rains, because if that is the case during qualifying, you never know what the outcome will be. In general, it's a notoriously difficult track to overtake on, so qualifying will be important. But like I said before, so is tyre wear. Will we have to do two stops? Is it safe to do only one stop? Either way, I think both Dani and Alvaro will do a good job. They know the track, they both have experience in GP2 and in general, if there is no first corner pile up, then the race should be quite straight forward and basically one where drivers just try to save their tyres. Unlike F1, we are very limited in the amount of tyres we use, so unlike F1 where the racing has been more interesting, in GP2, reducing tyre wear will also lead to a reduction in overtaking.
Qualifying: 26 May 2011 14:15:00 GMT +1
Race 1: 27 May 2011 09:15:00 GMT +1
Race 2: 28 May 2011 14:10:00 GMT +1