Do the Grands Prix of Monaco, Belgium and France still belong in F1? – GPblog


The future of the Grands Prix of Monaco, France and Belgium are under threat. Do these races still deserve a place on the F1 calendar? We asked the editors of GPblog.

The future of the Grands Prix of Monaco, France and Belgium are under threat. Do these races still deserve a place on the F1 calendar? We asked the editors of GPblog.
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Rafael Diaz Lehmann – English edition of GPblog 

While the arrival of Grands Prix in the United States, the Middle-East mark a new era of the sport, racing in slick and modern facilities, the sport must not forget the classic venues that inspired the minds of racing fans and made the very sport so popular. We must not forget that the Grand Prix was born in France, and while the recent races at Paul Ricard have not been all-time classics, the possibility of losing the red, white, and blue tricolore from the calendar is a sign of things to come. The Monaco Grand Prix is known as the ‘crown jewel’ of the year, and the Belgian Grand Prix holds what is often touted as the best circuit in the world with David Croft’s yell of “But here comes Sebastian Vettel!” still ringing in the ears of those who witnessed the spectacle. Moving forward Formula 1 and the FIA must consider wisely; does the sport move on to capitalise on its upward momentum, or hold on to the mesmerising history that still speaks to the millions of fans around the globe?
There are two aspects to consider: the history of the circuit and the spectacularity of the race. Spa and Monaco in particular are circuits that have made F1 history, but to change something in the calendar is not necessarily wrong. But if the new circuits are more boring and result in unexciting races, that is a problem. For example, Spa always delivered fantastic races, while many of the new circuits struggle to do so. And then you also have to consider the fans. Monaco, France and Belgium attract a lot of people and have a special place in the heart of every F1 fan.
Let me explain why I think Spa and Monaco should stay on the calendar. Spa-Francorchamps is situated in a unique location in the Ardennes, the scenery is beautiful and in my opinion there is no other circuit that has such a special part as Eau Rouge. Each bend provides a challenge, which is why Spa is also high on the list of the drivers’ favourite circuits. It is also a great favourite with the fans. In the end, I think the opinion of the fans is also very important in determining the future. If the organisation would not take this into account it would be a big mistake in my opinion. I also think Monaco should stay. Because of the gigantic yachts, the glitz and glamour, Monaco is a track with a completely different character. A big disadvantage is the lack of overtaking opportunities. Yet it is the walls in Monaco that make the drivers really dare to go to the limit because the smallest mistake can end your race. With the new cars it seems that the races have become a lot more entertaining. I would rather see France disappear from the calendar. The circuit with the famous dazzling blue and red stripes is one that many fans would rather lose. Paul Ricard has also shown that it does not provide many memorable races. Therefore, I think the French circuit will not be missed. Certainly not if it is between France, Spa and Monaco and they have to make room for another circuit.
I think Monaco, France and Belgium all have completely different situations regarding their Grands Prix. Spa is a spectacular track, every driver loves it and the atmosphere there is one of the best in F1, so there is absolutely no reason besides “more money to F1” to leave the calendar. Monaco doesn’t provide great races but has all the glamour and tradition, so they need to evaluate if the tradition compensates for the lack of good racing. And Paul Ricard is a track that doesn’t have a tradition or good races. Personally, I wouldn’t miss Monaco and France because the most important thing to me is a good race. But I can understand the appeal Monaco still has to F1.
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The possibility of one of these three Grand Prix not being on the calendar saddens me deeply but it is also a travesty on the history of Formula 1. Monaco is one of the most prestigious races in any category and is also part of the Triple Crown. Since the beginning of the championship and even since 1929, the Monaco Grand Prix has been so eagerly awaited, followed and appreciated by all the drivers in the field. Not to mention of course the work of ACM and their help on many levels of F1, especially on safety. As far as Spa is concerned, it is a temple of speed. It is so appreciated by the drivers and the spectators that it would be a shame not to see it on the programme. Unfortunately in France, the Castellet circuit is not the most attractive, but the hexagon has shaped the history of the automobile, the first race called “Grand Prix” was in the southwest of France. There must be a Grand Prix in France, we have a lot of circuits appreciated by the drivers and a lot of big names who are sorry that F1 is not in France. I understand that money is a big part of the decision but to take away three major Formula One Grand Prix in Europe would be unbelievable.
When we talk about the possibilities of Monaco, France and Belgium being on the calendar next year, I think only Spa is unanimous among the fans. Simply because the Belgian circuit is one of the drivers’ and fans’ favourite tracks. It’s a motorsport temple. Taking Spa out from the calendar is a huge mistake, and F1 would be shooting itself in the foot by doing this! Monaco is pure glamour and part of F1, a traditional track. Even though I don’t think it’s very entertaining (qualifying is almost more exciting than the race itself), and I wouldn’t miss this one that much, I think Monaco should stay on the calendar because it is… Monaco – it’s part of F1’s DNA. And now, France… I might be wrong, but nobody would really miss Paul Ricard. We had a great race there this year, but it was the first race I really enjoyed in France since 2018. I can’t say it’s a nice track because of one race. F1 can find a better track in France or somewhere else. Hard to overtake. Boring to watch. It was redesigned to be the best testing circuit in the world, and exactly the same things that make it a great testing circuit also make it a bad race circuit.
With Formula 1 signing new deals around the world, it’s obvious that at least one of the hardcore European traditional races will drop from the calendar. Perhaps even two or three. The calendar is almost reaching its maximum already and we have Las Vegas, China, Qatar and possibility South Africa to squeeze in somewhere. I’m in a minority but I wouldn’t be sad to see the Belgium Grand Prix disappear from the schedule. It’s not one of my favourite tracks. Has there been a real memorable moment in Formula 1 at Spa in recent years other than crashes? Paul Ricard is boring, but Formula 1 needs to find a replacement in France because it is part of F1’s roots which can’t be forgotten. Monaco is such a unique circuit. It shouldn’t work, but it does. It’s one of F1’s greatest assets and draws attention from those who don’t watch the sport every weekend.
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For me, Spa and Monaco should not even be up for discussion. The historical value of these tracks is immense and both are, in their own way, iconic for Formula 1 and motorsports in general. Paul Ricard won’t be missed as much, but that doesn’t mean scrapping it is necessarily a good thing. It illustrates the direction Liberty Media has taken for the future: a place on the calendar goes to the highest bidder, regardless of the added value the circuit has for the sport.
Without the Belgian and Monaco GPs, a part of Formula 1 history would be lost. These two circuits are iconic. The French GP won’t be missed as much, because many fans don’t like the circuit. If these Grands Prix are not held, it is because the popularity of Formula 1 is increasing and it is necessary to expand to other places and have races in other parts of the world. For all loyal Formula 1 fans, it is impossible to think of a calendar without the Belgian and Monaco GPs.
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