History and Tradition May Not Be Enough to Save F1 Monaco Grand Prix – autoweek.com

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Bigger cities, more raceable circuits calling Formula 1 as future schedules come together.
One thing about Formula 1, where’s there’s smoke, there’s often fire.
And that doesn’t just go for the latest car into the wall.
That goes for rumors, too, and one of the hot rumors of the past few weeks that is producing at least a little smoke is that the Monaco Grand Prix—one of the oldest and most iconic races in all of motorsport—may be on the chopping block as the sports leaders put the finishing touches on future schedules.
On the surface, that’s crazy talk, right? That’s like IndyCar trimming the Indy 500 from the schedule (OK, we won’t talk about the IRL/CART split years … that’s another story). It’s like not finding a place for the Daytona 500 on the NASCAR Cup schedule or IMSA considering canning the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
Losing Monaco, however, might make sense for Formula 1, as the series continues to add exciting new markets to a schedule capped by the constraints of a true world series. Miami starts it’s 10-year contract this year. Las Vegas starts at least a three-year run in 2023. Something’s got to give.
The current schedule stands at 22 races. A replacement for the canceled Russian Grand Prix is expected to be announced this summer, giving F1 a record 23 Grands Prix. Currently, the Concorde Agreement between the series and teams caps the schedule at 24 races.
Trying to figure out whether F1 will cap at 23 races next year or stretch it out to 24 is anybody’s guess right now. It has been reported that 25 venues are in the discussion for 2023 races. Of those 25, France, Belgium and Mexico are in the final year of their current contracts in 2022. Monaco is a fourth uncertainty, given we’ve seen no formal announcement of a extension to its deal beyond this year.
The addition of Las Vegas, it appears, will push one at least one of those four races from the schedule.
The case for cutting Monaco from the schedule is three-fold. First, it’s a race that is believed to have a sweetheart of a fees deal that has been grandfathered in over time. Current F1 owners Liberty Media may not be so receptive to continuing those discounts. Second, the race features very little passing opportunities and has become a tough watch, especially for the world-wide TV audience. And even drivers admit tradition might not be enough to save a circuit that is barely raceable—Monaco seems to be missing from the discussion of venues that drivers look forward to the most during the season. That, alone, speaks volumes.
“Yeah, I mean, Monaco is special,” McLaren driver Daniel Ricciardo said on Friday in Italy ahead of this weekend’s Grand Prix. “I think the thing is, I love the addition of some of these new circuits, new cities that we’re going to. I’m all for it, because it’s also like new experiences and engaging another audience which is fun, and it keeps the sport growing, so like kind of sharing the sport with more of the globe, and ultimately sharing our passion with more people.
“There are those core F1 venues and circuits such as Monaco. It’s a special weekend. For sure, like the race, it’s one of the most tricky circuits to overtake so, you know, I’m not sure it provides like the ultimate viewing experience on a Sunday. But the weekend experience and just everything that is Monaco is special and unique. And yeah, winning it or not, I think going there as an F1 driver and having that and experiencing all the emotions that go with competing in Monaco, it’s unique. And I’m very, very happy to have that, and have experienced that in my career.
“I guess I would wish, you know, call it the next generation to also experience that because it is special.”
Seven-time F1 champion Lewis Hamilton is also unsure if tradition alone is enough to save races like the Monaco Grand Prix in an era where the Americanization of the sport calls for more exciting and maybe even accessible venues for the fans, more passing, more exciting racing.
Hamilton was also asked about Monaco on Friday at Imola.
“I mean, it’s one of the crown jewels of our sport,” Hamilton said. “So I’m not really sure it would be great to lose it. There are good bits. I guess that the difficult part is that the racing itself is not that spectacular. But everyone that goes enjoys it. It is a prime location.
“Adjusting the track is not easy, because it’s the second smallest country in the world. I think it’s the second or third smallest country? Second, right? And so, yeah, we don’t have a lot of space there. Many of us live in Monaco. But it is just that that icon status it has, the history that it has that is so appealing to drivers, but also I think to those that are watching.”
We’ll soon know whether or not the race is still appealing to Liberty Media and the schedulemakers at Formula 1.


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