Then as now, brushing the barriers is key to being quick in Monaco

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At 2.075 miles long the Monte-Carlo circuit in Monaco is by far the shortest track on the Formula One calendar.

But much of its length is bordered on both sides by unyielding barriers. F1 drivers notice a stark difference between it and modern circuits built to the FIA’s exacting standards, with flat curbs and vast expanses of tarmac run-off.

They key to lapping quickly at Monaco has always been to maximize what little space is available by running right up to those daunting barriers, as two-times world champion Emerson Fittipaldi (pictured) noted recently:

“Because it’s so narrow, and because its walls are so close, you have to be prepared to brush the Armco very gently on almost every exit.

“I always used to say that you knew when you’d driven a quick qualifying lap at Monaco because your tires’ sidewalls would be scuffed white all the way around, indicating that you’d brushed the walls frequently but consistently on almost all the turns.”

What was true for Fittipaldi four decades ago remains true for F1 drivers today, as Felipe Massa’s race engineer Rob Smedley explains:

“We always ask the drivers to brush the barriers as much as possible, because that’s where the lap time comes from.

“Once, me and a colleague went to watch a race in one of the junior formulae from the entrance to the Swimming Pool section: well, when we saw how close they got to the barriers at over 200 kph [124mph], we said to ourselves that maybe we ought to have a bit more respect for the drivers.”

Toyota victorious in Bahrain on Porsche’s LMP1 swansong

Toyota Motorsport GmbH
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SAKHIR, Bahrain – Toyota denied Porsche a swansong victory in its final LMP1 appearance in the FIA World Endurance Championship by taking a commanding win in the 6 Hours of Bahrain on Saturday.

Porsche started from pole in the last competitive outing for the three-time Le Mans-winning 919 Hybrid car, only to lose out to Toyota’s Sebastien Buemi within the first half an hour of the race.

Porsche lost one of its cars from contention for victory after an errant bollard got stuck underneath Timo Bernhard’s No. 2 entry, leaving Nick Tandy to lead its charge in the No. 1 car.

Tandy moved into the lead just past half distance after a bold strategy call from Porsche to triple-stint the Briton after a fuel-only stop, vaulting him ahead of Anthony Davidson in the No. 8 Toyota.

Tandy’s win hopes were soon dashed when he tangled with a GTE-Am backmarker at Turn 1, sustaining damage that forced Porsche into an unplanned pit stop that put the car a lap down.

With the No. 7 Toyota losing two laps following a clash with a GTE-Pro car earlier on, Davidson, Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima went unchallenged en route to the car’s fifth victory of the season.

Porsche rounded out the podium with its cars, with the No. 2 leading home the No. 1, leaving Toyota’s No. 7 car to settle for P4 at the checkered flag.

Vaillante Rebellion clinched the title in LMP2 after a stunning fightback led by Bruno Senna, with the Brazilian securing his maiden motorsport championship win in the process.

GTE-Pro saw AF Corse complete a hat-trick of titles in 2017, with James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi wining the class’ first world championship recognized by the FIA, while Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda sewed up the GTE-Am title.