Formula 1
Formula 1
28 Mar
FP1 in
28 days
R
Emilia Romagna GP
18 Apr
Race in
51 days
09 May
Next event in
68 days
23 May
Race in
86 days
R
Azerbaijan GP
06 Jun
Race in
100 days
13 Jun
Race in
107 days
27 Jun
Race in
121 days
04 Jul
Next event in
124 days
18 Jul
Race in
142 days
R
Hungarian GP
01 Aug
Race in
156 days
29 Aug
Race in
184 days
05 Sep
Race in
191 days
12 Sep
Race in
198 days
26 Sep
Race in
212 days
R
Singapore GP
03 Oct
Next event in
215 days
10 Oct
Race in
225 days
R
United States GP
24 Oct
Race in
240 days
31 Oct
Race in
247 days
R
Australian GP
21 Nov
Race in
267 days
R
Saudi Arabia GP
05 Dec
Race in
282 days
R
Abu Dhabi GP
12 Dec
Race in
289 days
Giorgio Piola's F1 technical analysis
Topic

Giorgio Piola's F1 technical analysis

Monaco's craziest ever Formula 1 tech ideas

The Monaco Grand Prix is Formula 1’s most glamorous event – and is the one that is at the extreme when it comes to piling on the downforce levels.

shares
comments
Monaco's craziest ever Formula 1 tech ideas

Maximum mechanical grip and high downforce are the order of the day, and the unique demands of the Monte Carlo street circuit have prompted some fairly outlandish solutions over the years.

Here, we trawl through Giorgio Piola’s archive to dig out some of the best and wackiest solutions that have cropped up over the years – including several that got pretty quickly declared illegal.

McLaren 1974

McLaren M23 1974 Monaco front wing
McLaren M23 1974 Monaco front wing

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

McLaren M23 front wing, Monaco GP
McLaren M23 front wing, Monaco GP

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

At the 1974 Monaco GP, McLaren opted to run a narrower nose on its car, which had had its first outing at the earlier Spanish GP. Emerson Fittipaldi's M23 was fitted with a narrowed 'winklepicker' section, which allowed for wider wings.

There were also two narrow upstands that could be seen stood proud of the endplates. These were not for performance reasons but were instead put there to help act as a visual cue – so the drivers could tell easier where the edges of the front wing were.

Ferrari 1979

Ferrari 312T4, 3/4 view, Monaco GP
Ferrari 312T4, 3/4 view, Monaco GP

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Ferrari arrived at the 1979 Monaco GP with a specially commissioned pair of front and rear wings, both designed to improve the car's agility around the streets of the Principality.

The wings were mounted closer to the main bodywork for two reasons. First of all, this allowed a greater depth to the rear wing so it could still comply with the maximum dimensions of the rules – but also less bodywork overhang meant there was a smaller change of collisions with barriers in the event of the drivers getting it wrong.

Ferrari 1980

Ferrari 312T5 wings setup, Monaco GP
Ferrari 312T5 wings setup, Monaco GP

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

A year later and Jody Scheckter and Gilles Villeneuve were presented with a similar arrangement, a shorter car designed to improve the car's downforce and balance. However, the designers had gone one step further this time around, adjusting the T5's suspension and wheelbase (highlighted in yellow).

Jordan 1986

Jordan 196 extra wing Monaco GP
Jordan 196 extra wing Monaco GP

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

In 1996 Jordan followed in McLaren's footsteps when it introduced its version of the 'mid-wing' for Monaco. Mounted astride the engine cover, this imposing winglet took advantage of the wording in the regulations to produce a reasonable amount of downforce in its own right.

Tyrrell 1997

 
Tyrrell 025 rear view, Monaco GP
Tyrrell 025 rear view, Monaco GP

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Tyrrell 025 front view, Monaco GP
Tyrrell 025 front view, Monaco GP

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

When you think of crazy winglets that have appeared at Monaco, Tyrrell's 'X-Wings' have to be toward the top of that list. The oft cash-strapped outfit had found numerous innovative ways of increasing downforce down the years but the X-Wings took things to an all new level, mounted high up away from the sidepods they helped to produce downforce in their own right.

The X-Wings appeared at several races other than Monaco and even started to appear on many of the other cars up and down the grid, before being banned by the FIA on safety grounds.

Meanwhile, the '025' featured other novel features, including their single central front wing pillar, nose winglets and sidepod shovels and winglets.

Ferrari 1999

Ferrari F399 rear wing differences
Ferrari F399 rear wing differences

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Ferrari's F399, designed by Rory Byrne, helped the team take a 1-2 finish at the Monaco GP as it deployed a high downforce rear wing. The wing featured many more flaps than ordinarily would be the case, all of which were angled aggressively too, sacrificing straight line speed for downforce because efficiency is not so important in Monaco.

Williams 2000

Williams FW22 extra wings, Monaco GP
Williams FW22 extra wings, Monaco GP

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Williams employed an airbox winglet at the Monaco GP in 2000 as it sought to improve the performance of its rear wing. The rather wide winglet, similar in design to the one used by Jordan in 1999, undoubtedly created some downforce in its own right but more importantly cleared the path for airflow heading for the rear wing. Looking for additional balance, the team also installed a winglet atop the sidepod for the weekend.

Arrows and Jordan 2001

Jordan EJ11 nose wing, Monaco GP
Jordan EJ11 nose wing, Monaco GP

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Arrows A22 front view, Monaco GP
Arrows A22 front view, Monaco GP

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Arrows and Jordan both rocked up to F1's 'Jewel in the Crown' with some rather ungainly winglets in 2001. Both teams used grey areas within the regulations to mount the appendages from the nose and chassis respectively. The unorthodox winglets, which bring to mind the crazy high wings used in the 60's, were immediately put under scrutiny by the FIA and banned before the teams could even qualify with them.

Ferrari 2017

 
Ferrari F10 steering angle, Monaco GP
Ferrari F10 steering angle, Monaco GP

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Ever stricter aerodynamic regulations have made it difficult for teams to come up with wayward solutions just for Monaco in recent years. However, that doesn't mean that teams still don't need to make alterations, for example, the famous Monaco hairpin is an exceptionally slow corner that requires the cars to be adapted to suit its characteristics.

The teams change the ratio of the steering rack for this corner, in order that more lock can be applied, which also requires that the suspension shrouds be modified so that the wheel and tyre don't foul them.

Gallery: All Monaco GP winners since 2000

Previous article

Gallery: All Monaco GP winners since 2000

Next article

Avoiding hypersoft would be "big advantage" in Monaco GP

Avoiding hypersoft would be "big advantage" in Monaco GP
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Author Giorgio Piola
The pros and cons of F1's 2021 rule changes Prime

The pros and cons of F1's 2021 rule changes

In the strategy for grand prix racing's future, 2021 represents a significant step towards the goal of closer racing and a more level playing field. That's the theory behind the latest raft of changes, but will they have the desired effect?

Formula 1
Feb 24, 2021
What Red Bull is trying to hide with its RB16B launch Prime

What Red Bull is trying to hide with its RB16B launch

Red Bull made no secret of the fact its 2021 F1 car is an evolution of its predecessor, but in keeping the same foundations while hiding some tightly-guarded updates with its RB16B, the team aims to avoid suffering the same pitfalls of previous years

Formula 1
Feb 23, 2021
How Albon plans to fight his way out of Red Bull limbo Prime

How Albon plans to fight his way out of Red Bull limbo

Alex Albon has faced the media for the first time since he lost his Red Bull drive at the end of 2020 and dropped out of a Formula 1 race seat altogether. He has a history of bouncing back from setbacks, so here's what he must do to rise again

Formula 1
Feb 23, 2021
Ranked! Carlin's greatest F1 graduates Prime

Ranked! Carlin's greatest F1 graduates

Carlin has helped guide enough drivers to Formula 1 to fill out an entire grid, plus a handful of reserves, to create a remarkable alumni list. With Yuki Tsunoda set to join that group, Motorsport.com has ranked its graduates to grace the grand prix scene...

Formula 1
Feb 22, 2021
Why Alfa's 2021 launch says more about its 2022 plans Prime

Why Alfa's 2021 launch says more about its 2022 plans

Alfa Romeo launched its C41 with a revised front nose, but there's little to suggest it will surge up the leaderboard in 2021. As the team frankly admits, it's putting its eggs in the basket labelled 2022 and hoping to hold the eighth place it earned last year

Formula 1
Feb 22, 2021
Why Gasly’s AlphaTauri haven is a blessing and a curse Prime

Why Gasly’s AlphaTauri haven is a blessing and a curse

Red Bull opted not to re-sign Pierre Gasly even before it decided to drop Alex Albon and so the Frenchman's Formula 1 journey will continue at AlphaTauri. This has positive and negative connotations for one of last season's star performers.

Formula 1
Feb 20, 2021
Eight things Red Bull must do to beat Mercedes in 2021 Prime

Eight things Red Bull must do to beat Mercedes in 2021

After seven years of defeat at the hands of Mercedes, Red Bull is as hungry as ever to secure a fifth world championship. But there are key challenges it must overcome in 2021 to switch from challenger to conqueror

Formula 1
Feb 19, 2021
How AlphaTauri has adapted to F1's new rules Prime

How AlphaTauri has adapted to F1's new rules

AlphaTauri launched its AT02, complete with a new livery, as it bids to home in on an already-tight midfield battle. Although there were few outright new parts displayed on the launch render, there might be a few clues into further changes down the line…

Formula 1
Feb 19, 2021