Thursday, May 22, 2014

Monaco Grand Prix primer

The Monaco Grand Prix has been run since 1929 and is, by far, the most popular on the F1 circuit.  The extravagance of Monaco coupled with the thrill of F1 through the middle of the city of Monte Carlo makes for a very unique and expensive atmosphere. The track layout consists of very tight turns and drastic elevation chances making it one of the most dangerous on the modern F1 schedule despite the slower speeds on the course.  The course itself is 3.340 kilometers long and the cars will complete 78 laps for a total distance of 260.520 kilometers. One of the most dramatic parts of the course is the tunnel, creating blind spots when the drivers eyes are forced to adjust from daylight to darkness and back again. And let's not forget all that beautiful engine noise reverberating through the tunnel.  Just a quick search of youtube will show how popular this tunnel is for super car owners.  Although it's just as dangerous, as can be seen by the recent misplacement of a very expensive car while attempting re-create that exhaust reverberation.  But the sounds will be a bit different this year as the new smaller and quieter F1 engines (1.6-litre V6 turbo engines vice the old V8) this year are so quiet, the announcement speakers are drowning out the engines.
  For those luckily enough to be in Monaco this weekend, getting a good view of the track can prove to be an expensive undertaking.  Almost every balcony of the surrounding buildings will be full of race fans, many of which paid top dollar for the privilege of renting the balcony during the race.  For those enjoying their Memorial Day weekend back in the US, there are a few online and televised viewing options.  Several of the teams will have live streaming coverage from various points but the most comprehensive coverage will be on NBC Sports Network.  Practice #2 aired at 8 am on Thursday morning and qualifying will be at the same time on Saturday.  The live race coverage starts and 7:30 on Sunday with several opportunities to watch re-broadcasts later in the day.
  Lewis Hamilton, who posted the fastest overall time in practice for his Mercedes team, will be the one to watch four.  He has won the last four F1 races and is an obvious favorite to win this weekend as well.  If Hamilton pulls off a five win he will virtually guarantee his overall victory for the season and preventing any excitement for the remaining races.  Despite his successful year, the tight and dangerous track offers plenty of opportunities for any of the teams to seize victory.

When to watch:
Thursday, May 22 - 8:00 a.m. -- Monaco Grand Prix - Practice #2 (NBCSN)
Saturday, May 24 - 8:00 a.m. -- Monaco Grand Prix - Qualifying (NBCSN)
Sunday, May 25 - 7:30 a.m. -- Monaco Grand Prix - Race (NBC)