Torrential downfall and terrible weather has cut-down the season’s first triple-header to a double-header, with the Imola Grand Prix having been cancelled. After what has turned out to be a three-week break, racing resumes at one of the most iconic F1 circuits in Monaco.
Heading to the Principality, there are multiple storylines in play, with intra-team battles, a new contender and some old favourites struggling. In this article, we take a look at some predictions ahead of the 2023 Monaco Grand Prix.
Also read: Top 10 best Formula One race tracks – RANKED
Intra-team battle heating up
Five races into the season, three races have been won by Max Verstappen and two by his Red Bull teammate Sergio Pérez.
Verstappen leads the Drivers’ Championship by 14 points. While Pérez is one of the stronger street-circuit drivers, the Dutchman is getting into that no-nonsense mood after giving Pérez enough of an advantage early in the season. He might just be putting his foot down to knock everyone else out of the Championship battle.
While Verstappen comes into the race on the back of a stellar win in Miami, Pérez has a strong record in Monaco, meaning it should be another thrilling intra-team battle. While Verstappen heads into the race week as the favourite, don’t count out Pérez just yet.
Pole prediction: Max Verstappen / Sergio Pérez / Fernando Alonso
Win prediction: Red Bull / Aston Martin
Time for #33?
After four podiums in the first five races and his best start to a season since 2010, one could say it has been a strong start for Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso. Along with Aston Martin producing one of the fastest cars on the grid after Red Bull, Alonso’s mastery behind the wheel sees his team lie second in the Constructors’ Standings, while Alonso himself lies third in the Drivers’ Standings.
After three podiums in three different tracks, the Spaniard has stated that the Aston Martin car should be at home in Monaco. Alonso has been strong in the previous street circuit this season in Baku, Melbourne and Jeddah, and Aston Martin’s stellar speed through the corners and high drag should help them in the Principality.
Given that the track doesn’t give too much importance to straight line speed, should Aston Martin and Alonso crack the right car setup ahead of the weekend, we could well see Alonso break his decade-old drought to score win #33 in Formula One.
Dark horses: Aston Martin | Fernando Alonso
Will the upgrades deliver?
The W14 has been a cause for headache for Mercedes since the start of the season. One of the most dominant teams between 2014 and 2021, Mercedes have had quite a fall from grace, which sees them way off the pace in 2023 as they aren’t even top-three contenders at the moment.
The W14 is off the pace by miles compared to Red Bull’s RB19, though it has slowly been catching up to Ferrari’s SF-23 and Aston Martin’s AMR23. Mercedes were set to bring upgrades to Imola, and they will be bringing the same to Monaco. The main issue here, however, is that bringing upgrades to a street circuit isn’t ideal, so the team may just have to wait another week to actually see the fruits of their upgrades.
Both the Mercedes drivers have been vocal about the car’s performance and their lack of confidence in the same, especially during braking. The upgrades are supposed to bring suspension changes, and while that may help, the new floor and sidepods upgrades may not show their true potential before Spain.
For now, Mercedes need to make the most of the upgrades in Monaco and stay close to Aston Martin in the Constructors’ Standings. Expect it to be another tough weekend for the Silver Arrows in the Principality.
Also watch: Formula One 2023: Team Principals
Race details: When and where to watch (India)
- Circuit: Circuit de Monaco
- Venue: Monte Carlo, Monaco
- Practice Session 1 time: 17:00, May 26
- Practice Session 2 time: 20:30, May 26
- Practice Session 3 time: 16:00, May 27
- Qualifying Session time: 19:30, May 27
- Main race time: 18:30, May 28
- Where to watch: F1 TV Pro
(All times IST)