Formula 1 Racing

F1 flatters itself by imagining Monaco is its only frequently dull race · RaceFans

Kush Maini

Is the boring Monaco Grand Prix really a problem? Aren’t Liberty Media just going to drop it anyway next year once its contract expires?

After all, the bombardment of hype around last year’s Las Vegas Grand Prix assured us F1’s spectacular new event had taken the crown as the championship’s most glamorous race.

Perhaps it has. But don’t underestimate the value of heritage or the power of jealousy. F1 fans may have long come to associate the phrase ‘Monaco Grand Prix’ with 78 laps of tedium, but it has huge global name recognition and a rival series could claim a publicity coup by taking it over.

Formula E already has an event on the same circuit, after all. And its narrower, slower cars can actually race around the principality’s streets.

F1 cars largely cannot, and so the annual post-Monaco Grand Prix argument over what can be done to improve this round is in full swing. The usual cavalcade of half-baked knee-jerk Monaco-specific ‘fixes’ are being trotted out: ‘More mandatory pit stops’, ‘Force them to use soft tyres’, ‘Make them complete a lap on foot’ and so on.

Formula 2 out on a better race in Monaco

The thinking is that because Monaco is such an unusual circuit it needs it own rules. But last weekend’s race was spoiled by questionable rules which have negatively affected other grands prix.

F1 tries to create exciting races by forcing teams to use two different tyre compounds and hoping the pit stops this provokes lead to changes in position. But Monaco is such a slow track the tyres don’t wear out, and as overtaking there is almost impossible, the leader can back off by multiple seconds per lap to reduce the chance a rival behind will be able to time their pit stop in order to attack them.

Even so, in an ordinary Monaco Grand Prix the chasing pack has a chance to get ahead, for example by a fortuitously-timed Safety Car period. Max Verstappen and the Mercedes drivers gambled on this on Sunday, taking the start on the hard tyre compound, intending to stay out longer than the medium-shod Ferraris and McLarens ahead.

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That intrigue was destroyed on the first lap, along with Sergio Perez’s Red Bull. His race-stopping collision with the Haas drivers allowed everyone to change tyres and run to the end.

Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Monaco, 2024
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