The streets of Monaco are tough to navigate at the best of times, but in the rain Monaco becomes a completely different beast.
Winning a wet race around Monaco is the mark of a truly exceptional driver, but to do so takes nerve, talent, and the perfect setup.
Our dry setup for this race balances cornering performance with traction and tyre life. In the wet you need to add stability and predictability to that list.
This is our setup for the Monaco Grand Prix when the rain comes pouring down.
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The eagle-eyed among you may notice this is actually less downforce than our dry setup. That is because we can pull back some grip and performance from other areas of the setup, so we don’t need to create quite so much drag down the straights. The 9-11 wing setting isn’t much of a boost to straight line speed, but it can be enough to put you in position to overtake with the right exit from Portier.
While traction is vital to a good lap around Monaco, tyre preservation is crucial to a good race here. In the wet grip is also very hard to come by, and unlike other circuits you do still have to use a lot of kerb around Monaco so unlocking the differentials is the best way to getting a predictable car.
This part of the setup is actually identical to our dry setup, with a 50% on-throttle differential and 65% off-throttle. This keeps the rear tyres rotating more freely, so when you get on the throttle with one wheel on the tarmac and the other on a kerb you don’t go spinning round.
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This part of the setup radically differs from the dry one. With the wet tyres more hard-wearing and with the water on the track keeping them relatively cool we can push the cambers to -2.60 & -1.10. These will kill dry tyres though, so if the weather is set to improve during the race be ready to compromise on these.
Front toe is set to 0.08 to provide a little bite on turn-in, while rear toe is at 0.41 to aid stability when we accelerate out of these corners.
This suspension setting may seem severe, but it really is remarkably effective.
The suspension is set to 1-1 to allow us to ride those kerbs without too much pain. The anti-roll bars move to 7-11 to keep the car responsive and balanced, especially through the swimming pool section. The stiff rear keeps it in line and stops the car swapping ends on your too easily.
Ride height is maxed out at 11-11. This creates ground clearance to ride the kerbs even more than you would in the wet and lets the aerodynamics really work.
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There is a temptation in a wet race to give yourself maximum stopping power, but that can do more damage than good as it results in more lockups and makes squeezing the brakes between corners trickier.
We have set brake pressure to 83%, which gives us plenty of stopping power without compromising us through the hairpin and Portier.
The brake bias is set to 52% as this keeps the front end ultra responsive when we do apply the brakes.
Tyre pressures are taken right down to 21.0 psi & 19.5 psi. This has the benefit of making the tyres last a little longer by spreading heat across the surface more evenly but it also improves traction on the rear. It can make the front a little more sluggish to change direction, but that is combated by the camber setting.
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So that’s our setup for the biggest challenge in F1, a wet race at Monaco. It provides enough pace to be competitive and enough stability for you to grow in confidence. If you are not sliding through corners then the tyre life can be good enough too. Just be ready with a flashback if you lose a bit of front wing, because even the slightest loss in downforce can be horrific.
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