Following on from its second consecutive double finish in Spain, the Etihad Aldar Spyker Formula One Team goes to the fifth race of the year, the Monaco Grand Prix, looking to build on this momentum.
Run on the hallowed streets of Monte Carlo in the south of France, the Monaco Grand Prix is the most photogenic and glamorous of the year as the 3.34km track cuts through the famed Casino Square, skirts round the harbour jam-packed with yachts and rounds the world-renowned Rascasse. It's a tight, narrow circuit that doesn't allow for any mistakes, famously referred to by triple world champion Nelson Piquet as 'like flying a helicopter in your bedroom.' With a jungle of corners, kerbstones and guardrails just inches from the sidepods, every lap is on the limit and every mistake could be the immediate end of the race.
Both race drivers Adrian Sutil and Christijan Albers know the tricky track well. Adrian is the current F3 lap record holder round the Principality, a feat he achieved in 2005 when he was team-mate to McLaren's Lewis Hamilton. Christijan has raced twice in Monaco, in 2005 and 2006, finishing both races.
Experience coupled with the F8-VII's strong reliability means there's every chance that the team could get an unexpected result should conditions and strategy allow.
Spyker chief engineer, Dominic Harlow, discusses the challenges of the Monaco Grand Prix
"From an engineering perspective the circuit in Monte Carlo makes for a unique challenge and one that is typically relished by the whole team. You are very much immersed in the action and as close to the cars as it is possible to get.
Monte Carlo is the only remaining street race on the calendar at present and it produces its own challenges. Setting up a car for this event is so enjoyable because it is almost completely without compromise; you go for maximum downforce, maximum mechanical grip, the softest tyre compounds, and the longest race strategies. With the tight hairpins and corners, Monte Carlo is also the slowest F1-track on the FIA-calendar; Fernando Alonso won the race in 2006, with an average speed of 150 km/h.
We expect this event to suit our package and have brought an aero upgrade tailored to this event combined with some suspension modifications that are part of our general development programme for the F8-VII.
Since Qualifying is so important at this event and traffic on the circuit could be a real issue we expect to see some interesting strategies called into play for the various periods of the Qualifying session and again for the race."