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Date published: June 5 2022 – Jon Wilde
Toto Wolff has floated an idea to improve racing at the Monaco Grand Prix – but admits it would be unlikely to get the thumbs-up.
Monaco’s place on the Formula 1 schedule is in doubt having reached the end of the current contract and no new deal has yet to be agreed.
There are suggestions that if the famous race is to remain on the calendar, it may even have to switch to a rotational place by being held perhaps every second year.
Among the sticking points are the lowered fee the Automobile Club de Monaco pays to host a grand prix, the commercial and sponsorship arrangements and their insistence on having French channel TMC provide TV coverage rather than Formula 1 themselves.
But just as important is the quality of the racing and with such big, wide cars in F1 now, overtaking on the narrow Monte Carlo street circuit has become ever more difficult.
Mercedes team principal Wolff has made one suggestion by way of a change to the track design – but quickly knocked it down again on the grounds of safety.
“I don’t know where else you could drive on these roads,” said the Austrian, who has a home in Monaco, quoted by Motorsport-total.com. “The tunnel is already a fast place, so I don’t know what you could do there.”
Wolff then hinted it might be feasible to scrap the Nouvelle Chicane – where drivers occasionally go straight on anyway as a result of braking misjudgements – to create a long straight on which overtaking would be easier.
However, he then added that would probably be a non-starter “because then the Tabac curve would be too fast”, while acknowledging he is not a track designer.
Having also said recently Monaco has to “embrace the realities” of modern F1, Wolff believes there is a mutual necessity to find an agreement to continue the race – despite the spectacle in the 2022 edition not having been helped when Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton was held up badly by Fernando Alonso.
The Alpine racer drove slowly for several laps to protect his tyres in the knowledge Hamilton would have to try something very risky to overtake him.
“I think there is a debate to start in order to find a commercial agreement,” said Wolff.
“Both sides will clearly find a compromise because we need Monaco and Monaco needs Formula 1.
“Of course, if one car can slow down by almost five seconds and freeze everyone, that’s a shame about the races that take place here.
“Maybe we can examine the layout of the track or do something to prevent a train of cars from being created, but I wouldn’t know where else to go on these roads.”
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