With the French Grand Prix absent from the Formula One calendar since the 2008 season, this weekend’s race, located in the south-east of France, is regarded as the home race for Lotus’ Romain Grosjean, Jean-Eric Vergne of Toro Rosso and Marussia rookie Jules Bianchi, as well as Caterham driver Pic, who has tasted victory at the principality in junior formulae.
Ahead of his second Monaco Grand Prix appearance as a Formula One driver, Pic paid tribute to the unique challenges of the circuit, stating: “Monaco is a great race and a track I’ve won on before in Formula Renault 3.5 and in GP2.
“It’s true that Monaco, like Singapore, is really tough. It’s one of the two city street circuit races and there’s a lot of history there. I think for every driver and fan it’s one of the best races of the year.
“It’s not an easy race because you can’t make any mistakes at all during the weekend, but it’s also why we love it and why Monaco is so special.
“For the car it’s completely different than almost any other track, so we are running with a different setup there to optimise the mechanical grip.”
The Caterham star admitted that he hopes to thrive on the support provided by his countrymen, adding: “It’s always fun on track, but it’s busy for the drivers and as it’s right next to France there are a lot of French fans and I’m sure it will be good entertainment for them and everyone who goes.
“We don’t have a race in France at the moment so Monaco’s the nearest place to see F1 for all the French fans who really do love our sport.”
The Monaco Grand Prix is often viewed as an ideal opportunity for minnows to upset the natural competitive order, with the tight streets inviting cars to slam into the unforgiving Armco barriers.
Although Pic admits a hectic race may present Caterham, who appear to have recovered from early season difficulties encountered with its CT03 chassis, with the opportunity to score the team’s first points since its debut in March 2010, the 23-year-old believes his colleagues must approach the weekend like any other.
The former Marussia driver concluded: “You can hope that it can be a good chance for you to finish in a good position, but with such a tight circuit and so many chances for something to happen it’s something we can’t control so we have to be focused on optimising the car, extracting 100 per cent for qualifying and then focusing on the race.
“We’ll have to make sure we go the right way on tyre choice and strategy, and then we’ll see.
“We’ve definitely been improving over the last couple of races, so the aim is to carry that through to Monaco.”
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic