Three-time Formula 1 world champion Nelson Piquet once famously likened driving around Monaco to riding around your living room on a bicycle. OK, so some people’s living rooms are larger than others, but the point he was trying to make was that of all the circuits on the Formula 1 calendar, Monaco is the tightest, twistiest and most physically and mentally demanding of the lot — the one where the slightest lapse in concentration can end with a car in the barriers.
The race is so special, it is regarded as part of the motorsport’s triple crown, along with the Indianapolis 500 and the 24 hours of Le Mans. But unlike the Indianapolis 500, won by Dario Franchitti only hours after Mark Webber took the checkered flag at Monte Carlo, the challenge couldn’t be more different. Seventy-eight laps covering 161.879 miles with 62 gear changes per lap and over 4,000 during the course of a race means that it’s not only an extreme examination of driver skill and concentration but also a severe examination of one of the most important parts of F1 tech, the gearbox.