What’s the future of the Monaco Grand Prix?

Latest outlook of the Monaco Grand Prix

By: Sam Moores

When you think Formula 1, you think Monaco right? If you were to ask a random person to name an F1 race, you’d expect them to come back with Monaco. It’s the prestigious one, the one the drivers want to win. The one that people who aren’t the biggest fans of the sport will tune in to. But yet its future on the calendar seems uncertain.

The circuit’s contract runs out this year, meaning that we could have potentially seen the last Monaco GP. It’s public knowledge that talks to renew the deal are stalling, but it can’t actually leave the calendar can it? With demand for hosting F1 races increasing, and with money being chucked about left, right, and center, sadly some of the calendar has to go. 

Under the current Concorde agreement, the maximum amount of races allowed in a season is 24. With the addition of Qatar and Las Vegas next year, alongside a potential return to China. At least one race has to go.  A race in South Africa, at Kyalami, is inevitable at some point and looking closer than ever, meaning that unless the number of races is increased another one of many people’s favourites could leave the calendar in a couple of years. 

Monaco, France, Belgium and Mexico’s races are the most at risk as the contracts for all tracks run out at the start of the 2022 season. Paul Ricard is looking the most likely to leave the calendar, many in the know believe that the decision to not renew its contract could be done already, meaning Monaco might be back next year, but it’s not certain. If China’s back, 2 races have to go. The spa is another one at serious risk, with the huge amount of accidents that have occurred at that track recently, many deem it not safe enough for F1. It’s a massive shame, as everyone in and around the sport adores Spa, but sadly, it looks like eventually its days may be numbered as an annual host of an F1 race.

You’ll notice I said annual there, rather than regular. That’s because F1 and Liberty may have a solution to keep some of the historic European tracks in the loop. They believe that eventually, the championship is going to move towards a rotation of these races to keep them on the calendar, just not yearly.

A German Grand Prix is likely to be included in the rotation, as well as Imola, Portimao, and those at risk this year. They’d then take it in turn to host races. It’s a nice solution, but it would be massively unfortunate to see the Monaco Grand Prix fall under that category. To stop that from happening, F1 and the race organisers are going to have to solve a few disagreements.

There are a couple of major gripes surrounding the Monaco GP, the first being the low race holding fee. The street track in Monte Carlo’s fee has forever been lower than other tracks. That’s due to the entitlement the race organisers believe they have over the rest of the calendar, with it being around from the very start. Those in charge of the sport would like that the race organizers to contribute more. Another issue is the fact that the state broadcaster directs the TV footage, rather than Liberty Media. Again, this is unique to the Monaco race weekend. F1’s higher-ups want that to be removed. Many believe they have a point here, especially after the last couple of years which have seen the broadcaster cut away from exciting moments on the track to show replays.

The final big issue is the most simple one, but one that’ll definitely be the hardest to fix. It’s the racing. The streets of Monte Carlo just aren’t suited to these modern cars nowadays. The drivers love the track and want the weekend to stay, but those in the press conference last Friday unanimously agreed that overtaking needed to be worked on. That’s the problem with street circuits though, you’ve got to work with what you’ve got. It’s not like you can easily reprofile a corner, or completely design a new track layout. The problem is, it’s too narrow. There’s nowhere to make a pass, it’s not wide enough. But how can you change it? This year’s race was better than the previous few because the cars were able to follow better. There was a sizable difference in that between the 21′ and 22′ races. Could you make the run up into Saint Devote wider, and do something different with the pit lane? Maybe, but that’ll take a lot of work. As will any other adjustment, maybe one to the nouvelle chicane. It’s so difficult to change anything.

Ultimately I think something will be sorted out, and the Monaco Grand Prix will remain on the F1 calender for at least a couple more years. There’s too much history, but also potential there. It’s so easy to market, look how many celebrities are there, it’s where people want to be, it looks great on TV.  Having Charles Leclerc, a Monegasque driver at one of the real F1 powerhouses in Ferrari, should play a huge part in keeping Monaco in the loop. Zandvoort and Mexico City wouldn’t be on the calendar if it wasn’t for Verstappen and Perez. Both were added after they joined the sport, and both receive hero welcomes when they return home. It’s been the same for Charles since he’s been in the sport, and hopefully, it will be for many years to come.

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