2001 Monaco Grand Prix
The 2001 Monaco Grand Prix (formally the LIX Grand Prix de Monaco) was a Formula One motor race held at the Circuit de Monaco in La Condamine and Monte Carlo on 27 May 2001. It was the seventh race of the 2001 Formula One season and the 59th running of the event. The 78-lap race was won by Michael Schumacher driving for the Ferrari team. Rubens Barrichello finished second in the other Ferrari with Eddie Irvine third for the Jaguar team.
|2001 Monaco Grand Prix|
|Race 7 of 17 in the 2001 Formula One World Championship|
|Date||27 May 2001|
|Official name||LIX Grand Prix de Monaco|
|Location||Circuit de Monaco, La Condamine and Monte-Carlo, Monaco|
|Course length||3.370 km (2.094 mi)|
|Distance||78 laps, 262.860 km (163.334 mi)|
|Weather||Warm and Sunny, Air Temp: 23 °C (73 °F), Track 36 to 39 °C (97 to 102 °F)|
|Time||1:19.424 on lap 68|
David Coulthard, who qualified in pole position by posting the fastest lap in qualifying, stalled at the start of the formation lap because of an electronic launch control system fault, leading to Schumacher inheriting his position. Schumacher maintained the lead going into Sainte Devote corner with Mika Häkkinen second and Barrichello third. Häkkinen responded to Schumacher's pace before he lost second to Barrichello on lap 13 because his car pulled to the right and later retired. Schumacher continued to lead until he made his only pit stop on the 55th lap, handing the lead to Barrichello for four laps. He then retook it and held it to take his fourth victory of the season, his fifth at the Monaco Grand Prix, and the 48th of his career.
As a consequence of the race, Michael Schumacher extended his lead in the Drivers' Championship from four to twelve points over Coulthard. Barrichello maintained third and Ralf Schumacher remained fourth despite retiring late in the Grand Prix. In the Constructors' Championship, Ferrari extended their lead over McLaren to 32 points. Williams and Jordan were still in third and fourth and Sauber maintained fifth with ten races remaining in the season.
The 2001 Monaco Grand Prix was the seventh of seventeen single seater races of the 2001 Formula One World Championship and the 59th overall running of the event. It was held at the 19-turn 3.370 km (2.094 mi) Circuit de Monaco between La Condamine and Monte Carlo on 27 May. Before the race, Ferrari driver Michael Schumacher led the Drivers' Championship with 42 points, ahead of McLaren's David Coulthard in second (38 points) and the second Ferrari of Rubens Barrichello in third (18 points). Ralf Schumacher of Williams was fourth with 12 points, and Sauber driver Nick Heidfeld rounded out the top five with 8 points. In the Constructors' Championship, Ferrari were leading with 60 points, McLaren and Williams were second and third with 42 and 18 points, while Jordan and Sauber contended for fourth place.
Michael Schumacher had won three of the six races of the 2001 season and took pole position in five of them. He was optimistic about his prospects of equalling Graham Hill's record of five Monaco Grand Prix victories, "Traditionally, I have always gone well in Monte Carlo. On top of that, we have a great car this year and so I think we will be very competitive in our fight with McLaren for pole position and the win." Coulthard, the 2000 winner of the race, said he wanted to repeat his success from the previous season and saw the opportunity to move into the lead of the Drivers' Championship. Jaguar's Eddie Irvine said he was optimistic for Monaco because of his strong finishing record at the track, "I have a good track record at this place, with a second, a third and last year fourth place to my name. I am reasonably optimistic about our chances this weekend."
Following the Austrian Grand Prix two weeks prior, where four cars stalled on the starting grid because their electronic launch control systems failed, concerns were voiced by the technical director of Williams Patrick Head and Jordan's Jarno Trulli over driver safety because of the possibility of stranded vehicles and a major accident. Others differed with Coulthard saying that launch control could help make faster getaways, and Michael Schumacher predicted that there would be no repeat of cars being unable to start, noting that McLaren driver Mika Häkkinen stalled at the Brazilian Grand Prix without launch control. Max Mosley, the president of the series' governing body, the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), advised teams to switch off their launch control systems if they expressed concerns over its reliability, although he ruled out banning the aid for the Monaco race. Jordan subsequently deactivated launch control on their EJ11s and opted for a manual system due to the Circuit de Monaco's narrow characteristic. Although the FIA warned of "severe penalties" for teams who did not correctly set-up the systems, it allowed drivers to rehearse their starts at the conclusion of Friday's practice sessions.
Due to the configuration of the Circuit de Monaco, with its low average speed and abundance of low-speed corners, allied to the low-grip nature of the public road surface, the teams all set their cars up to produce the maximum amount of downforce and mechanical grip possible. Prost introduced new front and rear wing, undertray and rear crash structure to Jean Alesi's car. Benetton fitted a revised aerodynamic package with new front and rear wings and sidepods to its B201s. The Jaguar team ran with a revised rear crash structure to match its new diffuser along with new rear wing components and undertray from Saturday's practice sessions. Arrows debuted an elevated nose wing positioned vertically on two uprights over the top of Jos Verstappen's front wing and was aimed at increasing the maximum amount of downforce available. Jordan introduced a similar modification on Trulli's car but their design was positioned in front of the driver. The devices were examined after Thursday's practice sessions by the FIA technical delegate Jo Bauer, who believed they were an infringement of Article 2.3 of the 2001 Formula One Technical Regulations. Jordan and Arrows were thus required to remove the devices for safety reasons, and the stewards warned the two teams that they risked exclusion from the Grand Prix if the devices were used again.
Four practice sessions were held before the Sunday race—two on Thursday, and two on Saturday. The Thursday morning and afternoon sessions each lasted an hour. The third and final practice sessions on Saturday morning ran for 45 minutes. Both of Thursday's sessions took place in dry and warm weather conditions. In the first practice session, Michael Schumacher set the fastest lap of 1 minute and 21.577 seconds, 0.827 seconds faster than Coulthard in second. The two Jordans of Trulli and Heinz-Harald Frentzen were third and fourth. Barrichello, Häkkinen, Olivier Panis of British American Racing (BAR), Ralf Schumacher, Irvine and Alesi rounded out the session's top ten drivers. On a dirty track surface, Pedro de la Rosa damaged the front left corner of his Jaguar by hitting a barrier beside the track at Portier turn, and Tarso Marques pirouetted his Minardi 180 degrees backwards into a wall at the entry to La Rascasse corner. Since spare cars could not be driven until Saturday's practice sessions, neither driver returned to the track for the rest of the session.
Häkkinen paced the second practice session with the day's fastest lap at 1 minute and 19.853 seconds, with Michael Schumacher, Ralf Schumacher, Barrichello, Trulli, Coulthard, Frentzen, Alesi, Jacques Villeneuve for BAR and Williams' Juan Pablo Montoya in positions two through ten. Coulthard made heavy contact with a barrier at Tabac corner and broke his McLaren's right-front track rod, which was replaced in the pit lane. Fernando Alonso spun his Minardi into a wall at La Rascasse turn and damaged his rear suspension, ending his session early. With 15 minutes remaining, Montoya lost control of his Williams' rear and heavily damaged it at La Rascasse turn, stopping the session for four minutes, while the car that blocked the circuit was extricated by track marshals. His teammate Ralf Schumacher crashed heavily at the Swimming Pool complex with the front left of his car and two track marshals retrieving Schumacher's front wing narrowly avoided being struck by Enrique Bernoldi's Arrows. Irvine spun at the Novelle Chicane and Michael Schumacher swerved to avoid him.
After taking Friday off—a feature of the event timetable unique to Monaco—[n 1] the drivers returned to action on Saturday in bright weather conditions. Ralf Schumacher complained of head and neck pain following his crash in the second practice session and was treated by his team's physiotherapist before being ordered to rest until Saturday. Nevertheless, he was quickest in the third practice session with a lap of 1 minute and 21.036 seconds, ahead of Villenueve, Coulthard, Michael Schumacher, Sauber's Kimi Räikkönen, Irvine, Alesi, Frentzen, Panis and Trulli. 13 minutes into the session, Verstappen's engine failed, and laid oil at La Rascasse corner, prompting a quarter of an hour stoppage for marshals to clear it with sand. Luciano Burti's Prost suffered a mechanical failure that sent him veering heavily into the Sainte Devote tyre wall and narrowly avoided hitting multiple stationary recovery vehicles with three minutes remaining. Burti was unhurt.
The delay to dry the oil at La Rascasse turn meant the fourth practice session began 10 minutes later than scheduled. Häkkinen went quickest with a lap of 1 minute and 18.282 seconds, followed by Michael Schumacher, Ralf Schumacher, Coulthard, Irvine, Trulli, Montoya, Barrichello, Alesi and Frentzen. Alonso spun 180 degrees at the Loews hairpin and blocked the track before continuing. Frentzen stopped on the approach to Casino Square corner and his car was extricated by track marshals. Räikkönen and Bernoldi had separate crashes at the Swimming Pool complex and La Rascasse corner, with Bernoldi's front wing becoming lodged in Häkkinen's front suspension. Giancarlo Fisichella spun at La Racasse and blocked the circuit as track marshals extricated his Benetton.
Saturday's afternoon qualifying session lasted for an hour. Each driver was limited to twelve laps, with the grid order decided by the drivers' fastest laps. During this session, the 107% rule was in effect, which necessitated each driver to set a time within 107% of the quickest lap to qualify for the race. Conditions were warm and sunny for qualifying. Coulthard broke the unofficial Circuit de Monaco lap record set by Frentzen in 1997, clinching his second pole position of the season, and the 12th of his career with a time of 1 minute and 17.430 seconds. He was joined on the grid's front row by Michael Schumacher who was 0.201 seconds slower after aborting his first timed lap because Bernoldi's Arrows caught him off guard exiting the tunnel and he lost a tenth of a second by glancing the left-hand side at Le Portier turn. Häkkinen changed his car's set-up for his final timed run but it gave him a large amount of understeer and a lack of front grip, leaving him third. Barrichello worked with his engineers following the final practice session to improve his Ferrari's performance, although he flat-spotted his front-right tyre at Sainte Devote and qualified fourth. Ralf Schumacher was the best of the Michelin tyre runners in fifth after his final timed lap was impeded by Jenson Button of the Benetton team, who in turn was delayed by another car. Sixth-placed Irvine was delayed on his third timed lap and braked early for the Novelle Chicane on the left.
Montoya was seventh in his first appearance at Monaco since the 1998 International Formula 3000 Championship, while Trulli secured eighth from losing about two-tenths of a second from being delayed by a slowing car. Villeneuve qualified ninth and Fisichella completed the top ten by adding more front wing angle, which created a car balance to his preference. Alesi was the fastest driver not to qualify in the top ten; his fastest lap was 1.815 second off Coulthard's pace; he improved on each of his timed laps but made contact with a barrier in the tunnel. Panis went too quickly at the Piscine chicane on his last lap and took 12th. Frentzen pirouetted his Jordan EJ11 at Portier corner that leads to the entrance of the tunnel; he abandoned the car because the constricting barriers left Frentzen with little room to recover and he began from 13th. De La Rosa in the slower of the two Jaguars was 14th, followed by Räikkönen in 15th, who encountered a large amount of traffic and a waved yellow flag on his final timed lap. His Sauber teammate Heidfeld had an electronic throttle problem during his second timed lap that was unable to be rectified and he took the team's spare car to qualify 16th. Balance and braking problems caused Button to start from 17th. Alonso out-qualified both of the Arrows cars and Burti's Prost in 18th. Marques completed the starting grid in 22nd after a large amount of oversteer on his Minardi.
The drivers took to the track at 09:30 Central European Summer Time (UTC+2) for a 30-minute warm-up session in dry weather conditions. Coulthard paced the session with a 1 minute and 20.944 seconds lap, ahead of his teammate Häkkinen in second. The Ferraris of Michael Schumacher and Barrichello were third and fourth. Frentzen, Ralf Schumacher, Irvine, Verstappen, de la Rosa and Fisichella followed in the top ten. Though the session passed relatively peacefully, Marques crashed into an Armco metal barrier at Anthony Noghes corner.
The race took place in the afternoon from 14:00 local time. The conditions on the grid were dry and sunny; the air temperature was at 23 °C (73 °F) and the track temperature ranged between 36–39 °C (97–102 °F). Several teams began on the soft compound tyres; a one-stop strategy was determined to be the ideal approach, with some drivers making their first pit stops earlier than others to advance their positions while the rest made their stops later on because of a similar performance level throughout the field. At the start of the formation lap, an electronic launch control software glitch caused Coulthard's engine to stall, prompting the McLaren mechanics to restart his engine, but he was required to start from the back of the grid. His teammate Häkkinen was stuck behind him but he drove away from the grid before the final car got past him. He was allowed to start from the third. Michael Schumacher executed a clean getaway to lead the field going into Sainte Devote, ahead of Häkkinen and Barrichello. Montoya passed Irvine for fifth when the Jaguar driver ran wide while attempting a pass on the left of Ralf Schumacher at Sainte Devote corner. Behind the two, Verstappen lost control of his car and made contact with Burti. Verstappen fell to 20th while Burti had one of his endplates removed.
On the run to the exit of Portier corner, Heidfeld and Bernoldi connected, causing Heidfeld to be launched over one of Bernoldi's wheels, and sending him straight into the barrier, making him the Grand Prix's first retirement on lap one. At the first lap's conclusion, Michael Schumacher led Häkkinen by one-and-a half seconds, and the duo were followed by Barrichello, Ralf Schumacher, Montoya and Irvine. Montoya recorded the race's fastest lap at that point as he attempted to affect a pass on his teammate Ralf Schumacher. On lap two, Burti fell to 20th when Verstappen and Coulthard passed him. Upfront, Michael Schumacher increased his advantage over Häkkinen to 1.6 seconds at the start of lap three. That lap, Montoya shifted down a gear, reduced his pace and picked up understeer. This put him wide to the entrance of the Swimming Pool complex and collided with a barrier. Irvine consequently moved to fifth and Trulli advanced to sixth. Further back, Marques was passed by Verstappen for 17th and Burti entered the pit lane to replace his damaged front wing. Marques lost a further position through a pass by Coulthard for 18th place on lap four.
Michael Schumacher increased his lead over Häkkinen by another six-tenths of a second on the fifth lap with the latter under pressure from Barrichello and Ralf Schumacher. Häkkinen then went slightly faster to lower the gap to 2.5 seconds and set a new fastest lap under 1 minute and 23 seconds to be 1.6 seconds adrift on the eighth lap, to which Michael Schumacher responded with his own fastest lap. That lap, Verstappen overtook his teammate Bernoldi for 16th and the latter now had Coulthard behind him. On lap 10, Barrichello began to drop back with a cramp in his right foot, and was advised over the radio by Ferrari's technical director Ross Brawn to consume more water and move his toes, causing Barrichello to brake earlier than expected. Two laps later, Coulthard attempted a pass on Bernoldi at Tabac corner but he was unsuccessful. Häkkinen's car began to pull to the right on lap 13, and Barrichello overtook him at the exit of the tunnel for second. He entered the pit lane for a 50-second pit stop on the 14th lap to have his car's suspension push rods checked by his mechanics but no damage was found. On the 14th lap, Panis retired with a steering problem, and Häkkinen did the same two laps later because his problem persisted.
In the meantime, Verstappen got ahead of Button for 12th on lap 15 but Button retook the position soon after. However, Button held the position temporarily as Verstappen re-passed him. Coulthard continued to duel Bernoldi for position but still could not affect a pass. On the 18th lap, tenth-placed de la Rosa had an hydraulics issue that caused a loss of gearbox and throttle control. He pulled off at the side of the track to retire on the next lap. On lap 26, Burti, who had a long brake pedal, missed the Sainte Devote corner braking point. He stopped away from the barrier although he retired when his reverse gear failed. Coulthard tried again to overtake Bernoldi on the next lap but the latter defended his position. That allowed Michael Schumacher to lap Coulthard, who could not use the situation to get past Bernoldi. On lap 31, Trulli retired from fifth at La Rascasse turn with flames erupting from the rear of his car due to a loss of hydraulic pressure in his engine. That promoted Fisichella into sixth. As Coulthard allowed Barrichello to lap him on lap 32, he sought to use the opportunity to get by Bernoldi but could not do so. Two laps later, Fisichella went into Sainte Devote corner too fast, and made heavy contact with the barrier with his rear wheel. Nonetheless, he continued in sixth, ahead of Alesi, because his Benetton's suspension was undamaged.
Michael Schumacher set a new official lap record of 1 minute and 20.770 seconds on the 38th lap, and he further improved it to a time of 1 minute and 20.422 seconds four laps later, extending his lead over his teammate Barrichello to 18.3 seconds. On lap 43, Fisichella had an hydraulic failure that caused his gearbox to fail, and he crashed into the tyre wall at Sainte Devote, removing the front left wheel from his Benetton. Bernoldi made his pit stop at the end of the following lap, allowing Coulthard to lap 4.5 seconds faster than before. He took advantage of Alonso being lapped by Villeneuve to get ahead of the latter for ninth on lap 48. Two laps later, Frentzen in seventh understeered at the apex and he drifted into the left-hand Armco metal barrier exiting the tunnel at 270 km/h (170 mph). He slid along the barrier before stopping at the Novelle Chicane and clambered out of his car unhurt. Alesi entered the pit lane on lap 51, and returned to the race still in sixth. Four laps later, Michael Schumacher made his only pit stop from the lead, promoting his teammate Barrichello into first. Further down the order, Alonso retired with a failed gearbox on lap 57, and Ralf Schumacher retired in the pit lane from the third position on the next lap with an electrical fault that caused his engine to fail.
Irvine consequently moved into third, Villeneuve into fourth, Alesi fifth and Coulthard sixth. Barrichello made his pit stop from the first position on lap 60, returning the lead to his teammate Michael Schumacher. That lap, Irvine made his pit stop and returned to the track still in third. Then, Marques' driveshaft broke and he drove onto the run-off area at the Novelle Chicane to become the Grand Prix's final retirement. Six laps later, Coulthard made his pit stop and he emerged in sixth, in front of Button. He proceeded to set the overall fastest lap of the race at 1 minute and 19.424 seconds on the 68th lap as he drew closer to Alesi in fifth. Prost reacted by calling Alesi into the pit lane on the next lap for new tyres to better his defence of fifth. However, Alesi was delayed and he rejoined the race in sixth, behind Coulthard. Unhindered in the final nine laps, Michael Schumacher took his fourth victory of the season, his fifth at Monaco and the 48th of his career, by 0.431 seconds over Barrichello in a staged finish.[n 2] Irvine took Jaguar's first podium in third, and he held off the faster Villeneuve in fourth. Coulthard finished a lap behind in fifth and Alesi took sixth. Button, Verstappen and Bernoldi followed in positions seven to nine. Räikkönen was five laps down and was the last finisher in tenth after an early race pit stop to rectify a wheel sensor failure and he had no traction control. The attrition rate was high with 12 of the 22 drivers not finishing the race.
The top three drivers appeared in Prince Rainier III of Monaco's royal box to collect their trophies and appeared in the subsequent press conference to speak to the media. Michael Schumacher said he felt little emotion on the podium because he took "a very straightforward win" and that finishing the race was the most important aspect because of its narrow characteristic, "Although it was an easy drive, it was still hard to some degree, because we were still doing reasonably fast lap times. I don't know what it so special." Barrichello stated his cramp disappeared after his pit stop, "I was asking God to give me a chance to race because the car was brilliant. I never had a car as good as this one of today. But as Michael was saying, I had to save so much because I couldn't do anything else." Irvine spoke of his delight to finish third and stated that he hoped he could continue Jaguar's form into the Canadian Grand Prix, "It's good for all the guys in the team. Everyone's been working very hard. We haven't been getting very far to be honest until these new aerodynamics arrived on Saturday so it's good for the guys in factory."
Bernoldi, who battled Coulthard for 35 laps, alleged that both the McLaren team principal Ron Dennis and the director of motorsport for Mercedes-Benz Norbert Haug had approached him and threatened to shorten his career if a similar scenario occurred in the future, a claim that Dennis denied, "It was quite a while after the race when I talked to him and I was cool, calm, and collected and I was not angry. I just told him that in my opinion it was unsporting behaviour." An audio tape released to the press by McLaren on 11 June vindicated Dennis; according to transcribers he said to Bernoldi, "that was not sporting and you shouldn't carry on like that." The Arrows team principal Tom Walkinshaw rejected a claim by Dennis that Bernoldi would not allow Coulthard to pass him for television exposure, while Coulthard spoke of his belief that Bernoldi was over defensive and said he would raise the issue at the next Grand Prix Drivers' Association meeting, "We agreed not to move once a driver has made his move. You make your decision - and up the hill a couple of times I was coming to get my wheels alongside him and he moved over." Bernoldi argued he was driving a routine race and was on the circuit to better his driving ability.
After the race, the FIA examined several Bridgestone tyres for possible illegal wear although it discovered nothing abnormal and the result of the race was declared final. Jackie Stewart, the three-time Formula One World Champion and Jaguar team founder, praised Irvine's performance and the driver's maturity, "He practised well, he qualified well and he raced well. You couldn't ask for more. He proved himself here by driving in a very controlled way so he was ready to take advantage of opportunities and to resist any pressure from Jacques (Villeneuve) at the end." Alesi earned his first points finish since coming sixth in the 1999 Japanese Grand Prix and the Prost team's first since Trulli's second-place result at the 1999 European Grand Prix. He declared the result "a great thing" for himself and Prost and said that he predicted similar results in the future, "I totally enjoyed my race. But towards the end, when I felt the car vibrating in the tunnel, I was really worried. It was a flat tyre and I had to go back to the pits to change it, which cost me the fifth place points. What is really important today is that I scored the first point for the team this year -- or last."
The result of the race left Michael Schumacher with an increased Drivers' Championship lead of 12 points over Coulthard in second place. Barrichello's second place finish enabled him to consolidate his hold on the third position while Ralf Schumacher's non-finish meant he remained in fourth. Heidfeld rounded out the top five in the standings. In the Constructors' Championship, Ferrari contined to lead the standings and increased their advantage over McLaren to 32 points. Williams and Jordan continued to occupy the third and fourth positions and Sauber were fifth with ten races remaining in the season.
Championship standings after the raceEdit
- Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.
Notes and referencesEdit
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- "Alesi and Prost Celebrate First Point Since 1999". Atlas F1. 27 May 2001. Archived from the original on 24 April 2002. Retrieved 8 April 2019.
- "2001 Monaco Grand Prix". Formula1.com. Archived from the original on 28 October 2014. Retrieved 26 December 2015.
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2001 Austrian Grand Prix
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2001 Canadian Grand Prix
2000 Monaco Grand Prix
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2002 Monaco Grand Prix