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Monaco favorites: who will be the first double winner?

Wolfgang Wilhelm
Monaco favorites
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E there are still drivers and teams who are not in the 2012 winners list and could win in Monte Carlo. Pastor Maldonado has a good chance of being the first to land the second victory among the previous winners.

Who has already won? Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso, Nico Rosberg, Sebastian Vettel, Pastor Maldonado. And who hasn't? Lewis Hamilton, Mark Webber, Kimi Raikkonen, Romain Grosjean and Michael Schumacher. You would trust them to win Monaco.

Monaco specialist Maldonado

And of those who have already been on the podium this season? In terms of name, one tends more towards Alonso or Vettel. But Pastor Maldonado is a very hot candidate to be the first two-time winner this season for two reasons.

Monte Carlo is his racetrack. The Venezuelan was in great shape last year. Starting position eight, three positions ahead of Monaco expert Rubens Barrichello. In the race he fought for fifth place with Lewis Hamilton and ended up in the crash barriers. The race management decided: Hamilton's fault.

The GP2 record of Maldonado in the Principality also reads well. 2007 pole position and victory. 2008 pole position and second place. 2009 victory in sprint race. 2010 second place. 'I have always liked Monaco and after the race Sunday in Barcelona I am of course full of self-confidence', Maldonado is optimistic about the Grand Prix in the Principality.

Williams traditionally good in Monaco

Der Williams is a car that has traditionally been strong in Monte Carlo. Even in bad times. Experience plays a major role here. The engineers at Williams know all the tricks of a good Monte Carlo set-up. But this time the basis is also right. The Williams FW34 is easy to drive and easy to set up. Always an advantage in the crash barrier labyrinth of Monte Carlo.

The car is mechanically sound. The traction is excellent. 'If the last sector of Barcelona was a benchmark, then the Williams must be unbeatable in Monte Carlo,' said Red Bull adviser Helmut Marko. The Red Bull is also one of the cars with good mechanical grip. But he had no chance against Maldonados Williams in Barcelona.

The blue and white car is also careful with the tires. According to Pirelli, only the Lotus E20 is better at tire wear. The Williams has the advantage that it gets the rubber to work faster.In Monte Carlo, that's half the battle. Even the most tire-friendly vehicle doesn't help against a starting position in the first two rows.

Williams has recently mainly worked on the car's balance. The new rear wing is aimed precisely in this direction, as technology coordinator Mark Gillan explains: 'It has improved the balance. With it, you set lap time because it saves the tires and gives the driver confidence.'

Williams sets new technology standards

The FW34 doesn't even look that different from its predecessor, it has only been corrected for its weak points . The new chief technology officer Mike Coughlan dug out his McLaren experience and did away with old habits in the Grove engineering office.

Up until last year, Williams had a maximum of 0 for tolerances between the individual components , 8 millimeters. Coughlan explained to his engineers. 'I want this value to drop to zero, but I will give you 0.1 millimeters of leeway in the first year of my tenure.' It's not about little things, even if it sounds like that. One of the secrets of the Red Bull for years has been its absolutely flawless surface. When it comes to aerodynamics, it's the little things that make the difference.

Even under the fairing, the Williams is much cleaner than its predecessor models. Fewer corners, fewer edges, fewer blockages for the airflow through the cooler. A Red Bull mechanic who switched fronts says that the engine in the Williams is even more cleanly encapsulated than in the Red Bull.

Renault engine with better smoothness

Frank Williams mentions also the Renault engine. It doesn't have more horsepower than the Cosworth V8 from last year, but it runs much better. When the drivers step on the gas, they get the thrust they expect. At Cosworth nothing came first and then everything came at once. That was a problem especially on tight courses like Monaco.

Not only Maldonado has a successful Monaco past. Williams also has experience with Monte Carlo victories. A Williams driver was allowed into the royal box three times. Carlos Reutemann was the first in 1980. Keke Rosberg followed three years later. The last triumph dates back to 2003, when Juan Pablo Montoya won a heart-stopping final against Kimi Räikkönen and Michael Schumacher in a Williams BMW. Maldonado will also have to deal with both of them next Sunday.


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