IT’S the showpiece event in the pinnacle of motorsport and Red Bull want to make it three in a row around the streets of Monte Carlo.
Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber have both tasted success at the Monaco Grand Prix in recent years, but 2012 has so far posed the biggest challenge to the throne of the world champions from Tilbrook.
With only one win from the opening five rounds this year, the reigning champs are struggling to get to terms with the new regulations, but Sebastian Vettel sits atop the driver’s championship standings, albeit level on 61 points with Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso.
And despite proceedings proving much tougher than in the previous two years, which saw Adrian Newey’s creations dominate the field, the RB8 is leading the way in the constructor’s title race too, ahead of the arguably quicker McLaren.
The team struggled to match the surprising pace of the Williams last time out at the Spanish Grand Prix but will be keen for a return to form on the tight, twisty Monaco street circuit - a place the drivers see as the crown jewel in the F1 calendar.
World champion Sebastian Vettel won on the streets in 2011. He said: “It’s something special to race in Monaco; it’s tight and there’s no room for error.
“It’s rough and, as it’s a street circuit, the road surface is uneven so you get shaken in the car and there is no room for mistakes. You have to push yourself and the car to the limit to be fast, you have to push as hard as on other tracks, but there’s no room.
“You can almost feel it when you are just missing the wall and just get through – but it’s a nice feeling. You need to be fully focused on track, it’s a special thing to win in Monaco.”
And 2010 winner Mark Webber echoed Vettel’s sentiments. He said: “Monaco is a really special track, it’s an old circuit in terms of when it was first designed and the layout hasn’t changed too much since. It’s got a bit easier from when I first joined Formula One ten years ago, but it’s still a test of man against the track and with the car.
“You’re racing other people, but it doesn’t always feel like it because the track is always asking you to give more. If you bite and try to give it more then you crash so it’s a very, very challenging circuit mentally.
“Physically it’s quite straightforward, but in the mind you need to be very disciplined and that’s the challenge around Monaco.”
Free practise starts on Thursday ahead of Sunday’s race.