Pirelli brings soft tyres as the quirks of Monaco could spring surprises

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  • Pirelli will bring the three softest tyre compounds to the Monaco Grand Prix this weekend.
  • Verstappen and Perez won the last two editions of the race, but Alonso plans on disrupting their winning ways come Sunday.
  • A 20% chance of rain is predicted over the race weekend.

Pirelli have announced the tyre allocation for the 69th running of the Monaco Grand Prix this weekend.

The three softest compounds in its 2023 portfolio will be used between Friday and Sunday, with the conditions expected to play into the tyres' strong points. The C5 will act as the white-walled Hard tyre, the C4 as the yellow-walled Medium tyre, and the C3 as the red-walled Soft.

In addition to having the lowest average speed of around 150km/h of any circuit on the F1 calendar, it also has little grip and limited wear.

"One of the peculiarities of Monaco is the fact that the track is opened to normal traffic every evening, which means that it's very hard for rubber to build up on the racing line, making the surface even more slippery," said Mario Isola, Pirelli's motorsport director.

"With Imola having been scrubbed, Monaco could now become the debut for the new Cinturato Blue full wet without tyre blankets, obviously depending on weather conditions: another potential random factor this weekend."

Indeed, there is a 20% chance of rain on each of the three days running, which could disrupt the intended strategies teams may have banked on.

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2022 Monaco Grand Prix

A different winner?

So far in 2023, the Red Bull duo of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez had won all five races, with Verstappen taking three victories to his teammate's two. But Monaco's unique nature could mean someone else has an outside chance to steal the win.

The Monaco track is a low downforce circuit, meaning that greater focus is placed on achieving the highest speeds through corners rather than having the highest speed through the speed trap. As such, expect teams to debut bigger front and rear wings to allow F1 cars to stick to the track.

This setup approach can either nullify Red Bull's performance advantage they've been enjoying so far this year, allowing another driver to snatch pole position and possibly the win. Or, either Verstappen or Perez can walk to another victory.

READ: There's the King of Monaco GP, but an Aston Martin win could come around a Principality corner

Both Verstappen (2021) and Perez (2022) won around Monaco once, but Fernando Alonso is eyeing an opportunity for him and Aston Martin. Alonso won here twice (2006, 2007) but is confident that Monaco could be an opportunity for him to win for the first time since 2013.

"We seem to have a car that is maybe not the fastest on the straights," he said ahead of the Monaco race, "but we are very good on the corners.

"So, I would say that the slowest speeds of the championship, let's say Monaco, Budapest, Singapore. These kind of circuits, I think we put our main hopes (for a win) at the moment."

Isola echoes Alonso's sentiments on the low-speed circuits, but he adds that the characteristics of Monaco can spring a surprise.

"Monaco has written its own chapter in the history of F1," he notes.

"The characteristics of this unique circuit make it a true one-off that has often sprung surprises. No other track can allow a driver to compensate for any technical shortcomings of their car in the same way, and just one incident can shake things up entirely."

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