Monday May 21st, 2001
Williams driver Ralf Schumacher has expressed his concerns about the safety standards of the Monaco circuit, where the next event of the Formula One World Championship will take place on Sunday.
Schumacher, winner in San Marino this season, was injured at the Monaco Grand Prix last year following a crash against a barrier after running wide at the end of the straight of the tight street circuit, where the safety measures don't match those of the rest of the tracks.
After nearly having to miss the 2000 Canadian Grand Prix following an injury to his left leg, the German admitted he is worried about safety, but also think his Williams team are well prepared for Monaco after a positive testing session at Valencia last week.
"For drivers Monaco is a big challenge, especially as it is very easy to make a mistake there and have an accident," said Schumacher. "Having said this, it is one of the highlights of the season. My only worry there is the circuit doesn't match up to the current high safety standards demanded in Formula One.
"We should be well prepared, especially after the work done in Valencia. The main question mark is how the tyres will work, but I know Marc Gené has been doing a lot of work with Michelin and so am sure they will have come up with some good compounds."
Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya, who led the Austrian Grand Prix after his best qualifying performance in Formula One, will arrive at Monaco in a confident mood after the race at the A1-Ring, especially since he will be able to benefit from his past experience in F3000.
"I am pretty familiar with the Monaco circuit as I spend quite a lot of time in the Principality so drive on these streets regularly," said Montoya. "Last time I raced there was in ’98, in a F3000 car and I had quite an exciting race, finishing 6th.
"In Valencia we have been testing a few new components for Monte Carlo and I think that it should be an interesting race for us. I don’t really feel the special atmosphere of Monaco because – besides spending quite a lot of time there - at the end of the day when you are concentrating on your job that is the most important thing."