Does the Monaco GP still belong on the F1 calendar next year?
Here are the powerful arguments for and against
It’s been the crown jewel of F1 racing for as long as anyone can remember - but it may soon disappear from the calendar.
The Monaco GP – with its famous, winding track around the cobbled streets of Monte Carlo – is in the last year of its contract and there’s speculation that racing authorities won’t agree to another deal.
While some fans are mortified, others are more pragmatic. Despite its glamor and romance, the track is starting to look dated, leading to some drivers complaining about its features.
Here’s a look at what the two sides are saying in the debate of one of racing’s most iconic setting.
In support of Monaco
1. The backdrop attracts spectators to the sport
When you think of Monte Carlo, you might get an image of the luxurious gambling venues that have graced the city’s nightlife for much longer than online casinos have been around for.
Yet the city is beautiful in its own right, featuring medieval architecture and sweeping views of the Mediterranean Sea below. It’s a backdrop that F1 fans are used to watching on TV or visiting if they are lucky enough to get the chance.
Organizers ACM (Automobile Club de Monaco) are experts at promoting the race as the most glamorous one on the F1 calendar, and they’re probably right. It’s the place where the rich and famous go to be seen after leaving their multi-million-dollar yachts in the nearby marina.
Even superstar footballer Cristian Ronaldo loves it.
2. Top drivers want it to stay
The people who make it all happen, the drivers, deserve to have an important say in the debate. And the broad consensus is they want it to stay.
He’s backed up by fellow stars Mick Schumacher, Fernando Alonso, and Carlos Sainz, who have all recently expressed support. Charles Leclerc went as far to say that ‘without Monaco there’s no F1’, claiming that no other track comes close to the adrenaline that the Monte Carlo track provides.
The stars would know. After all, they’re the ones who get to race it.
3. It’s the ultimate test
A key part of the attraction for drivers, and fans for that matter, is watching the ultimate battle between man, machine and competitor.
Experts have called the Monaco track a ‘unique challenge’, a demanding mix of physical and mental strength as drivers navigate the ultra-tight turns along the city’s medieval streets. Anything but extreme precision can potentially lead to disaster, making it something of a white-knuckle ride for those involved.
Street onlookers, too, can marvel at the bravery and skill of the competitors from up close. Add to that the prestige of knowing that you’re watching one of sports’ most famous venues in full flow, and it’s easy to see why so many people respect it.
1. It’s difficult for drivers
The evolution of F1 cars over the last few decades has been phenomenal. Today’s cars are much heavier, longer, and wider than their predecessors, and produce much higher speeds.
While this is exciting for racing enthusiasts, it brings with it its own dangers. Navigating Monaco’s twisting route is extremely hazardous, to the point where crashes are becoming increasingly likely.
The art of overtaking, too, has almost disappeared from the circuit, according to Lewis Hamilton. The British F1 legend said it now takes a mix of luck and strategy to pull one off, whereas 30 years ago it was the norm.
If cars continue to evolve on the same trajectory, then the Monaco track may soon start to look impossible.
2. F1 has moved on
In the rapidly advancing world of motor racing, Monaco is struggling to keep up. As Red Bull principal Christian Horner said recently, “You’ve got to evolve. If you stand still, then you’re going backwards.”
In a few years, Monaco’s small streets and old-fashioned facilities may mean it starts to look like an anachronism that’s only there because of its culture and heritage.
From a financial perspective, F1 no longer needs the income generated by Monaco. Today’s new super-venues, like Abu Dhabi and Qatar, pay much higher hosting fees and have more scope for improvement in the future.
3. It doesn’t look great on TV
We mentioned how much of a treat Monaco is for live spectators, but how about those watching at home?
There’s no escaping that a lot of the sensory experience is lost through digital mediums, where viewers don’t get to experience the sound and smells of one of the world’s oldest tracks. What’s more, the small track means that the race just turns into clusters of competing cars, making it difficult to discern who is beating who.
This might be where the Monaco debate falls down among its supporters: if the cars continue to evolve, then the TV spectacle may start to look ridiculous and unwatchable, and that’s something F1 organizers cannot afford to happen.
The opinions expressed are those of the author's and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of F1-Fansite.com, staff or partners.
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