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Catching up with Formula One: Monaco

Written by Sofia Costantino, Edited by Sean McKean

Are you ready to dive into the high-speed world of Formula One? Whether you're a seasoned fan or a newcomer to the sport, there's never been a better time to catch up with everything happening on the track this year.

This article has got you covered from the latest race results and driver standings to the biggest shocks and controversies. So buckle up and get ready to experience the thrill of the race like never before!

The Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, which was scheduled to take place last weekend, was canceled due to severe weather in the region. Heavy rain and flooding have made it impossible for the race to go ahead. We send prayers and support to everyone affected.

The decision to cancel the race was made after officials inspected the track and determined that it was unsafe for racing. The torrential rain has caused damage to the track, the city, houses, and the entire region making it impossible to clear standing water in time for the race.

The Divebomb community wants to send its thoughts to the people and communities affected by the recent events in the Emilia-Romagna region. We also want to pay tribute to the work of the emergency services who are doing everything they can to help those in need.

The Emilia Romagna Grand Prix was set to be an important race in the championship, with Max Verstappen leading the standings but closely enough Sergio Perez and the one and only Fernando Alonso. The cancellation of the race means that Verstappen will maintain his lead for a little longer, but it also means that Checo and Alonso will have more time to prepare for the next race. But now, our vision is set on this weekend’s grand prix, an all-time favorite, and the iconic Monaco!

This Sunday 28th of May, the 80th Monaco Grand Prix, the sixth valid Formula World Championship, will take place.

It is undoubtedly the most prestigious of all motor racing because it represents like no other the historical essence of motorsport, where the social is mixed with the sport, the royalty with the mundane, and the glamour with the technology. For decades the circuit officially opened with a lap of honor by Prince Rainier III and Princess Grace in an official vehicle.

Monaco for many years defied FIA regulations and safety measures as anachronistic and would never pass the test if someone had wanted to start it a couple of decades ago. But now, to be safer, city circuits have become fashionable, such as those in Singapore, Baku, and Miami, largely because of the closeness they allow between drivers and the public.

Saturday, May 27th will be very special, because it marks the 90th anniversary of the first Pole Position by time and not by draw in the history of the Grand Prix, at the suggestion of journalist Charles Faroux, copying what introduced the Indianapolis 500 in 1915. In 1933 Achille Varzi with the Bugatti T51 set the best time and then won the race in a fierce fight with the phenomenal Italian ace Tazio Nuvolari.

In this dominating season, Red Bull and their unbeatable RB19 with 5 consecutive wins since the start of the campaign, will look for their sixth, to match the Mercedes in 2014, but still behind them in 2019 with eight and even more than McLaren-Honda in 1988 with 11 straight before losing a race, which was their only loss.

With Max Verstappen currently leading the championship, many are wondering if anyone can consistently challenge his unstoppable pace.

Mercedes, the team that dominated the sport for many years, winning eight consecutive constructors titles (2014–2021) but took a wild turn when things fell completely out of place losing its remarkable pace, drivers unhappy (especially the world champion Lewis Hamilton). They are hoping to turn things around with a practically new car for the next race.

In addition to the battle for the top spot, one of the most prominent aspects of this season is the return of Fernando Alonso with his team Aston Martin.

Aston Martin has been showing impressive improvements in the 2023 Formula One season, with Fernando Alonso, the two-time world champion and is widely regarded as one of the greatest drivers of all time, leading the team to become the best of the rest after Red Bull. The team has been working hard to improve their performance and close the gap on the top teams. With the Monaco Grand Prix coming up, fans are eager to see how the team will perform and if they can continue their upward trajectory in the championship standings.

Fernando Alonso at the Australian Grand Prix 2023. Image credits: Aston Martin

But if there is a circuit where anyone can win it is Monaco, where the characteristics of the car and the power of the engine are the least necessary because it is so difficult or almost impossible to overtake. This was demonstrated by Ayrton Senna against Nigel Mansell and his outstanding Williams-Renault FW14B in the final eight laps of the 1992 edition, or Daniel Ricciardo in 2018 with the loss of much of the engine power of the RB14-Renault from lap 28 until the end of the race on lap 78. That's why getting out of the vanguard position of the starting grid is crucial and history has proven it with a victory of 67% of those starting from the front row.

Strategic mistakes hurt more because they are usually foreign to the pilot himself. Last year was a clear example with local Charles Leclerc. The Moneguasque, who had achieved the Pole and had a lead of almost five seconds, entered the pit lane to change tires, first to intermediate wet track and then dry track. Normally, there would be no issue, but this move relegated him to fourth place, when Ferrari made a mistake and both drivers entered the pits together. Frustration can be very big, when you get lost in the pits, as happened to Daniel Ricciardo in 2016, waiting for nine seconds for them to find their new tyres, because they were inexplicably unprepared.

Anything can happen at the Monaco GP, even if everyone finishes the race, which has never happened. In other news and to continue our catching up before Monaco, Verstappen, two-time reigning champion and the current leader of the championship, showed the world exactly how powerful he is this season with an undisputed and clean victory at the Miami Grand Prix, despite starting from the ninth position on the grid after not setting time in the third qualifying round (Q3) of the previous day— aborting his first attempt due to a mistake and then being impeded by a late red flag caused by Charles Leclerc's misfortune with the Ferrari SF-23.

Max Verstappen at the Bahrain Grand Prix, winning the first race of the season. Image credits: via Redbull

The Red Bull racer is only the fifth F1 driver to succeed from that position, the last one being Niki Lauda 39 years ago at the 1984 French Grand Prix in Dijon-Prenois with the McLaren-TAG.

Although his teammate Sergio Pérez, the winner of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, secured pole position, he was overtaken by Verstappen with ten laps to go, thanks in part to a reverse strategy of the compounds used. Thus, Verstappen achieved an extraordinary performance with the hardest compound from the beginning, being able to advance without difficulty or excessive risk to those who preceded him, even though they all started with the medium compound.

Sergio Pérez winning the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Image credits: Formula One

Verstappen's bet with the alternative strategy paid off, because the medium compounds, supposedly the best choice, did not perform as expected, possibly due to the newly asphalted track and the rain from the previous night that washed the track, making it much more abrasive than in the first edition of the Miami Grand Prix last year. By lap 45 of the 57 marked, Verstappen was behind Pérez by just a second and a half, and Pérez was easily overtaken after that.

Even so, it’s safe to say that for Christian Horner, the Red Bull team principal, an equal strategy for both drivers would have ended in the same race result, thanks to Verstappen's superiority on the track. With five wins for the team, including a 1-2 in four races, Red Bull has shown that its RB19 is in a league of its own.

Meanwhile, Aston Martin, thanks to Alonso, is the best of the rest, having secured four podiums so far. After five races, they are second in the constructor’s standings, a massive leap from their position after five races last season.

The other teams, however, find themselves continually experimenting without determining the ideal solution to improve their chances of competing with the seemingly unbeatable Red Bulls. That's why there's so much discrepancy in the race results for each team, as we've seen from McLaren, Alpine, Haas, Alfa Romeo, AlphaTauri, and Williams, but also from Mercedes and Ferrari, 2 of the biggest teams.

Especially amongst the latter two, who are eagerly awaiting major evolutionary changes scheduled for the next race at Monaco. For Ferrari, there's a great mystery going on. Unlike Mercedes, they have excellent speed in qualifying but during the race, they rapidly lose their pace. In Miami, reversed difficulties were noted from its two drivers; Carlos Sainz reported a good performance with the medium tires in the first part of the race, then complained about the hards, while with his teammate Leclerc, it was the other way around.

The legendary Ferrari logo with “il predestinato”. Image credits: Mark Thompson via getty images.

To sum up, the current season looks like an overwhelming success for Red Bull, with more 1-2 finishes to be expected. Many fans are waiting for other teams to evolve to try to match with the Austrian set, who logically will not spend on improvements as long as it is not necessary.

All of these exciting things to look out for and more are sure to make the Monaco Grand Prix an exciting event for Formula One fans. Be sure to tune in to see how it all unfolds on the track.


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