Start, Monaco, 2018

Should Monaco be the same length as every other F1 race?

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Having been on the world championship calendar every year since 1950 with only a handful of exceptions, the Monaco Grand Prix is one of Formula 1’s longest-running races.

And yet every year it is usually the shortest-running race. Due to a curious quirk of the F1 regulations, the maximum distance for the Monaco Grand Prix is shorter than at any other race.

While every other round of the world championship must run to a minimum distance of 305 kilometres, article 5.3 (a) of the sporting regulations stipulates a 260 kilometre distance at Monte-Carlo only.

Is there still a good reason to treat this round of the championship differently to the others? Or is it time Monaco’s grand prix fell into line with every other race on the calendar? Over to you.

For

There was some justification for reducing the race distance at Monaco in the days when F1 cars couln’t get anywhere near a full race distance in less than the two-hour time limit. But that is no longer the case.

Last year drivers took an hour and 42 minutes to complete the 260 kilometre distance. At that speed, they could cover the full distance in two hours. A Safety Car or Virtual Safety Car period might mean they hit the limit, but this in itself is not a problem, and has happened at Singapore’s race more than once.

Alternatively if Monaco is going to remain an 85% race distance event, it should only pay 85% points. That’ll be 21 for the winner, 15 for second place and 0.85 for 10th place or fastest lap.

Against

The past 50 F1 races in Monte-Carlo have all run to the reduced distance specified by the rules – with a few exceptions, such as the 1984 and 1996 Monaco Grands Prix, where rain forced the races to be stopped before the distance limit was reached. The shorter distance has become a traditional part of a race which deviates from the norm in many other ways.

Monaco, for instance, is the only race where practice takes place on Thursday and everyone takes a break on Friday. And it’s the only track shorter than the minimum length stipulated for grade one circuits.

It’s also the only race which doesn’t pay a hosting fee to Formula 1 Management. As they say, you get what you pay for. Or, in this case, don’t.

I say

I can’t think of a good reason to keep the shorter race length for Monaco. Yes, it’s been done that way for a long time, but that’s never struck me as a good enough justification on its own to keep doing anything when a more logical alternative is at hand.

If anything, extending the Monaco Grand Prix to standard F1 race length might help inject a little more action into a race which can be processional, as the circuit is so difficult to overtake on.

It will give more time for the drivers and cars to fatigue. More laps for the tyres to wear down at a track where degradation is currently negligible. And more occasions on which the race leaders must cope with the headache of lapping traffic around Monaco’s maddeningly close confines.

Will it make a huge difference? Probably not. Is it the most pressing issue facing F1 today? Definitely not. But perhaps a small step in the right direction.



You say

Do you agree the Monaco Grand Prix should be run to the same race distance as all the other rounds of the championship? Cast your vote below and have your say in the comments.

Do you agree the Monaco Grand Prix should be the same length as other F1 races?

  • Strongly agree (28%)
  • Slightly agree (24%)
  • Neither agree nor disagree (11%)
  • Slightly disagree (14%)
  • Strongly disagree (20%)
  • No opinion (4%)

Total Voters: 272

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 79 comments on “Should Monaco be the same length as every other F1 race?”

    1. Making it a longer race will just mean an extra 45km of monotony.

      1. Pedro Andrade
        19th May 2019, 12:15

        True, but could also increase the opportunity for something odd to happen. Drivers have said that in Monaco the concentration levels are much higher, which should wear them out further if the race is prolonged.

        If the race continues to be a bore, then it’s just a little extra of the same. If something new happens then it’s good. So I say yes to increase the duration of the race.

      2. Totally agree with the OP. I think it’s too long as it is.

      3. Yep. If points were handed out after qualifying, I probably wouldn’t mind.

      4. Love the scenery, but there’s little to no passing , making the race longer would make it unwatchable

      5. Suffering Williams Fan
        19th May 2019, 18:20

        Agreed, a longer Monaco is a change F1 could do without.

        I don’t mind the idea of equalising race distances, but frankly I’d rather equalise the race times and have F1 races be shorter overall. I actually quite like the FE approach of time plus 1 lap and would be perfectly happy to see F1 adopt, say, 80 minutes plus 1 lap.

        Regarding 85% points, I disagree with this, the demands of each track are different anyway, for both car and driver, so I’m not sure why distance should become a standard for the number of points allocated.

        1. I agree with the idea of the races being about the same length of time. I thought it was standard for an F1 Grand Prix to have the race and podium ceremony all within a 2 hour window. As far as I can tell even though the Monaco GP is shorter in terms of distance travelled the actual event takes about the same length of time as most other Grands Prix.

      6. Absolutely!

    2. Making it a longer race will just mean an extra 45km of awesomeness.

      1. Sarcasm … or are you watching something different to me?

    3. I went with neither disagree nor agree, mainly due to this sentiment already echoed in the article:

      Will it make a huge difference? Probably not. Is it the most pressing issue facing F1 today? Definitely not. But perhaps a small step in the right direction.

      In my opinion, the biggest challenge that Monaco poses to F1 has come about by chance & regulations – with the cars becoming longer and broader, that makes it easier to make mistakes, but it also makes it easier to cover off a line. I’m not entirely convinced that lengthening a race will alleviate this issue.

      I wouldn’t mind Monaco becoming something of a showcase race – don’t contribute points to the championship, but make it a mandatory event, allow teams to use PUs that are not constrained by the season limits. And if we’re not doing points, we could shorten this event to two sprint races, with one of them being a reverse grid.

      To me, the Monaco GP is more spectacle than race, let’s just build on that.

      1. I like the fact the Monaco race is a procession. It allows for unique strategies to work (Vettel winning on completely worn tyres in 2011) as well as for keeping position in a much slower car (Ricciardo winning with a significant loss of power in 2018). I find the strategy in Monaco fascinating as track position is everything. And when a pass happens it’s usually something special.

        The difficulty of passing means qualifying is more important than elsewhere. Knowing the qualifying is so crucial, plus the fact it’s an immense challenge on the narrow streets, for me makes the Monaco GP qualifying one of the most exciting sporting events in the year.

        1. Knowing the qualifying is so crucial, plus the fact it’s an immense challenge on the narrow streets

          @enigma – this is a good point. Qualifying definitely pushes drivers to the limit (and beyond) since that often defines the race result, and qualifying is a very entertaining watch.

          Ricciardo winning with a significant loss of power in 2018

          However, I’m not sure such an occurrence is a point in the circuit’s favour – what happened to Ricciardo is no different from what happened to Leclerc in Bahrain ’19, or Rosberg/Hamilton in Canada ’14, yet the outcome was different, in no small part due to the circuit, and not the driver’s skill.

          1. However, I’m not sure such an occurrence is a point in the circuit’s favour – what happened to Ricciardo is no different from what happened to Leclerc in Bahrain ’19, or Rosberg/Hamilton in Canada ’14, yet the outcome was different, in no small part due to the circuit, and not the driver’s skill.

            @phylyp I like the fact that Ricciardo’s win would not have been possible anywhere else. I wouldn’t want there to be more such circuits, but I like the fact we have one where track position is more important than having full power, for example.

            1. @enigma – Hmmm, ok :)

      2. I went with ‘neither disagree nor agree’ as I couldn’t choose between 2 other sentiments echoed in the article:

        it should only pay 85% points. () 0.85 for 10th place or fastest lap.
        It’s also the only race which doesn’t pay a hosting fee ( ), you get what you pay for.

    4. If anything, the race distance should be shortened! It’s an absolute pain to sit through.
      A race distance resulting in a 1h20min race would be perfect.
      Dragging out the boredom won’t make this abomination of a race any more enjoyable.

      1. So just don’t watch it!

    5. Is there a good reason for F1 to still have a ‘race’ in Monaco? It’s rubbish. The cars potter around, practically idling in order to coddle the tyres, safe in the knowledge that there’ll be no overtaking no matter how slow they go. I would rather be gardening than watching Monaco. It’s a tedious joke.

      1. DRS overtakes are a joke too, achieved on 1 kilometres straights on Tilkedroms, but you dont see that as a problem? Monaco used to be the borefest when F1 was exciting, now F1 is borefest and Monaco became more interesting since its more or less the only circuit where the driver actually gets punished for making a mistake, without silly runoff areas with tarmac.

        Everything that made F1 unpredictable in the past was taken away, now we have the sterile and dilluted sport, thank god Monaco is still on the calendar, atleast one race track where Mercedes, Ferrari and Redbull cant overtake with ease other drivers if they fall behind.

        1. Trying to put words in other people’s mouths is never a good idea. DRS is a problem. In fact it’s an abomination.
          Nevertheless at no other circuit do cars spend so much time lapping so far away from their qualifying pace. Both driver skill and car performance are utterly nullified in a Sunday afternoon due to the event behind held at a venue the patently unsuited to it.
          Which is just as well in a way, because under proper racing conditions Monaco is unacceptably dangerous for modern F1 cars.

      2. I agree that Monaco isn’t much of a race, but that’s the only thing wrong with it. Everything else is the best weekend in the F1 calendar.

        Well, ok, not being a real race is quite a big problem for a motorsports series :)

        It is not beyond the wit of man to fix the racing, rather than dumping the track. May be beyond the wit of the people who now run F1, though.

    6. Watching the Monaco GP is a battle of endurance, my favourite part has always been the qualifying. They should change that to make the event more exciting. Do what the indy500 does and run the cars one at a time, everyone getting two runs. The race itself is beyond fixing unless the track is made wider.

      1. Sure thing, we all know how exciting are the Tilkedroms….

        1. Malaysia, Shanghai, Bahrain, Austin, Istanbul are all good Tilke tracks.

          1. Austin is, Bahrain – not really, Malaysia was, China and Istanbul certanly are not.

      2. Daniel (@bringmontjuicback)
        19th May 2019, 19:47

        Ah, yes, the untried experiment of one-lap aggregate qualifying…

    7. As it has been the case in most of the Monaco Grands Prix in recent years, only changes in weather and occasional crashes have caused any interesting moments during the race. I’d like to see something that could lead to more unpredictability, so the race wouldn’t be over after qualifying. Perhaps making the race longer could help with that, especially if the tyres would really allow different pit strategies to be used.

      Why not make it 100 laps of Monaco? That could almost be finished within two hours without (V)SC and it could potentially allow different race strategies, especially if they risk running out of fuel…

      1. Great ideas +1

      2. It used to be 100 laps, historically, until the 3.0L cars in 1967 were so exhausting to drive that Bandini’s fatal accident on lap 82 was attributed to fatigue. They made it 80 laps the following year, then eventually 78 when the various chicanes made it longer and longer.

    8. Don frika del prima
      19th May 2019, 12:03

      If anything, extending the Monaco Grand Prix to standard F1 race length might help inject a little more action into a race which can be processional, as the circuit is so difficult to overtake on.

      I’m sorry but I thought processions and no overtaking wasn’t a problem for you. Or was that just an article to please the dutch viewers of your site 😉😂

      1. Dutch readers are already pleased as the Netherlands won the song ‘procession’.
        Maybe they can organise the final at circuit Zandvoort after next year’s race ;)

        1. Don frika del prima
          19th May 2019, 17:44

          Oh god no. I can handle cars at a track where overtaking is impossible… But that “song” “competition” is unbearable!

    9. Crazy idea, but we should implement the “shrinking safe area” concept from battle royale at Monaco: every 7 laps, the last 2 cars are forcibly retired by having them pit and retire. It’ll mess with the strategists who’d have to ensure that cars pitting for tyres/front wings don’t fall dangerously behind, while the tail-enders can try running without pitting for long in the hope that a pitted car comes out behind them.

      1. This was tried with the qualifying a few years ago and it was a disaster.

    10. Another case of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” There are far more pressing matters to be addressed in F1.

      1. @clive-allen, indeed – Keith seems to be putting forward an answer to a question nobody was asking about, and it feels like a case of making a change for the sake of making a change: rather ironic for somebody who has often levelled the same charge at those running the sport.

        The arguments don’t seem to have been properly fleshed out, and Keith doesn’t even go on to explain why the race distance was reduced in the first place. If you read articles of the time, whilst the time factor was being used as the defence by the Monegasque authorities, it was suggested that the real reason was because of Bandini crashing and burning to death in the 1967 race, with his accident being attributed to fatigue.

      2. It IS broke.

    11. Can we get more Qualifying sessions in Monaco on Sunday afternoon? Like, maybe 2 to 3?

      And whoever gets pole gets to turn a wheel of fortune, with a 95% chance of being awarded the win. Just about anything to get this pointless bore of a “race” over with quickly.

      1. @proesterchen, it’s worth noting that the idea of doing something else to liven up the race weekend is something that has been suggested in the past. As far back as 1970, there was a serious proposal to split the event up into a qualifying race and a feature race, although it seems it was eventually rejected by the teams.

    12. Strongly agree. There is absolutely no reason not to have a standard race distance at Monaco.

    13. Keep approximately the same number of laps but lengthen/speed up the course with a big floating pier (straight, hairpin, straight) to provide a potential overtaking spot… Totally tongue in cheek territory obviously, but I always thought something crazy like that would make Monaco way more fun and aid the problems of it being too short/slow without totally abandoning what it’s all about.

      1. lengthen/speed up the course with a big floating pier

        or simply make the swimming pool chicane optional and create a big ramp to jump over the pool.
        @effwon

    14. I disagree. It should stay as is because of the slow speeds. The current lap times with the smaller race distance result in an event with about the same run-time as every other circuit.

    15. I’d actually shorten it even more…
      Make every race 90 minutes, so MC get shortened, Monza lenghtened.
      Add extra time for SC (maybe +1 min for every lap under SC)

      1. 100% agree with this! Though I think it should be 2hours plus one lap (or more realistically 100mins)

    16. Monaco will remain a 1 stop race at a longer distance, there’s nothing to gain from running it for a further 20 minutes of processional racing.

      As for 85% points, well the rules also state that once a race has completed a certain percentage full points are awarded even if it’s stopped so that makes no sense either.

    17. I voted for ‘neither agree nor disagree’ although this brings up something concerning Singapore. For some time already, I’ve been in favor of shortening the Singapore GP to the same overall number of km as the Monaco GP to reduce the risk of it getting too tight with the two-hour limit, which is indeed the reason the Monaco GP is approximately 280 km long rather than the standard 305 km meaning that in theory it should be 92 laps long, but instead the number of laps is 78. I’m not entirely sure whether my math on this is right, but given the track length, to achieve minimum 280 km, the Singapore GP should feature something from 51 to 56 laps instead of the 61, which, of course, is the lowest number of laps with which to reach 305 km for that track length.

    18. Not being a big fan of special entitlement anywhere, I don’t see why Monaco should be an exception to FIA’s regulations. Plus full-length races could open up spaces and push the cars and drivers enough to make them less processional. But there’s one caveat. Monaco is a potentially dangerous circuit. Pushing the drivers beyond the limits of concentration and fatigue-endurance could have serious consequences.

    19. I absolutely LOVE Monaco!
      The longer the race is or will be – the better!

      And, Liberty, don’t you dare take it off the Calendar!
      Monaco goes – we riot!

    20. I think lengthening would add some excitement.
      The only issue is it’s higher chance of getting a safety car that will most likely make it reach the 2 hour mark with its current distance.

    21. Didn’t even know that Monaco was shorter in KM.
      Never cared before, and certainly not going to start now.

    22. if Monaco is going to remain an 85% race distance event, it should only pay 85% points.

      Yes, because that’s what happens if a race is red flagged at 85% distance, RIGHT? :lol:

      1. Under Article 6.5 of the Sporting Regulations, if a race is red-flagged at less than 75% distance, 50% points are awarded. This applies almost regardless of how much below 75% that distance was – if 2 or fewer laps were completed under green-flag conditions, 0% points are awarded. So although it’s not what happens at 85% (an argument in favour of the status quo), there is a threshold where points and distance correspondence is broken.

    23. Josh (@canadianjosh)
      19th May 2019, 15:19

      With the amount of safety cars you could get they should leave it as is. What a stupid question anyways Kieth.

    24. The argument of “more laps mean more chances for something to happen” i6snt a clever one, in my opinion. What are we going to do with Monza then? If there’s no safety car, these days they take less than 90 minutes to complete the race. Should we extend that race too? What about tracks were ovetaking isn’t common such as Barcelona? Or Hungary?

      Doing more laps doesn’t mean much… It’s be the same, but longer. The only way Monaco can be interesting is because of accidents. And they hardly happen these days.

      1. @fer-no65 It has always taken less than 90 minutes to complete the races in Monza without the SC in dry conditions, though, not just these day, or more precisely less than 80 minutes on average.

        1. @jerejj yeah but with reliability being so bulletproof these days it happens more often. Plus we have 20 cars now only. Less chance of accidents or whatever.

        2. ‘these days’

      2. To be fair there isn’t any overtaking on any circuits and never has been. There did used to be the possibility of if, but that is even lost now with all of it being done during silly pitstops or DRS.

    25. Just do quali three times and start the party early after that. The ‘race’ is usually run at 7 seconds per lap off the potential pace of the cars which means the drivers are really not trying at all.

    26. Stephen Higgins
      19th May 2019, 16:40

      I think there’s a case for shortening Singapore as well.

    27. pastaman (@)
      19th May 2019, 17:13

      My least favorite race on the calendar, make it 0km and replace with something better. Or put some Bernie sprinklers on it.

      Even Sochi is more entertaining.

      1. @pastaman The worst circuit for overtaking, but driving-wise one of the most enjoyable.

    28. What’s the point of making it longer though? Or put differently, where does this nonsensical question come from? Is it seriously something that’s being looked at by FIA or FOM? Or is it just one of those “If a polar bear and a shark were fighting who would win?” type deals.

      Also, the arguments in the “Against” column all seem to be some sort of joke?

      The whole thing is a bit too contrived.

    29. I strongly agree. Monaco GP is awesome and the current laptimes make it possible to go the full 300 km within 2 hours.

    30. Strongly disagree.
      The longer the race, the more fuel and tyre saving needs to be done and therefore the cars are so much slower and lift and coast into each corner like a poor university student that cannot afford to run their car.
      They need to ideally give the “poor” F1 teams more fuel and tyres and/or make ALL races half the distance they are now with the same fuel/tyres.

    31. Current F1 cars shouldn’t be racing in Monaco at all, they are far too large for the circuit.

    32. They used to only allow 20 cars to start up until the late 80’s and then went up to the full 26 so why not do this now. Honestly this is one of the few interesting tracks left where you get punished for making a mistake. I don’t really get all the arguments about then not going close to qualifying pace, but it’s a race and you want to win as slowly as possible. Extend it. I am glad to see narrow Zandvoort coming back as long as they don’t turn it into a parking lot like the rest of the circuits. F1 evolved from road racing and I wish they would at least try to keep some of that character. It is part of the DNA. More so than open wheels and cockpits that people on here whine about.

    33. I’d be happy to see the distance increase, especially since the high probability of a Safety Car means there’s a good chance of teams having to think on their feet as energy-saving calculations get thrown.

      However, it’s not the end of the world if it remains exactly as it is either.

    34. Electroball76
      19th May 2019, 20:09

      They could race this one event in cars more suited to a street track, like Formula E cars. A bit of cross-over. Could be fun.

    35. It’s not just about race distance though, Monaco should have to adhere to the same conditions as other races, such as race hosting fees and FOM being responsible for broadcasting.
      If there was a vote to drop a race then Monaco would be at the top of my list. but that’s never going to happen because it’s F1’s playground.

    36. The reason for the Monaco race being shorter is not well explained here.
      Until 1967 the Monaco Grand Prix was always 100 laps. In 1967 with the 3.0L cars, it was particularly exhausting and fatigue was blamed for Lorenzo Bandini’s fatal crash on lap 82 at the chicane. For 1968 the race was reduced to 80 laps but Ferrari still did not compete judging it was not safe for modern F1.

      Let’s not mess with history, plus it’s so slow I don’t see the point of making it 300km. Strongly disagree.

    37. José Lopes da Silva
      20th May 2019, 10:25

      People who don’t like the Monaco GP are not interested in extra km. Not even sure why would you bother reading this.

      Obvisouly, it should go for the entire distance. This should be a challenge for drivers – but, increasingly, no one (teams, audience) is interested in that.

    38. I’m for extra distance.

      300km or 2h, whatever happens first.

      Why? Driver fatigue, potential accidents, whatever can happen.

      Monaco is usually split in 3 interesting parts. Start, the sole pitstop and safety car when it happens.

      Then drivers push, then more crashes happen. There is also other side, the share audacity of driving 280 km/h next to the barriers. I urge anyone to sit in to a Simulator and drive an F1 car around Monaco. The ferocity of experience is immense. Barriers everywhere, precision and focus required is to great for normal humans.

      Despite race being very monotonous for a casual observer, there is ferocious battle of skill going on within the cars. Especially on quali and those 3 points of the race, where drivers really push.

      Observing that manifestation of skill I would very much like to do for full race distance. In Monaco if nothing happens, there is still plenty going on.

    39. It’s OK as it is and the two-hour race limit also is sensible. I would argue, though that there also should be a minimum time limit set for a GP, perhaps at 78 or 80 minutes.

    40. I agreed that it should be normal distance for the reasons @keithcollantine suggested. It opens the potential for issues to arise, which often leads to interesting and differing strategies at Monaco.

      Further, I think Monaco shows both the problems with what F1 is and the potential for what it could be. The problem that Monaco highlights to me is the near-complete inability to pass in F1 lately. Monaco does this with its track configuration (tight streets, short straights, etc.), but the result is similar in that drivers find it very difficult to pass. DRS doesn’t really work in Monaco, and for those of us that feel the utter dearth of (non-DRS) passing is killing the sport, that is what almost every race feels like; whoever leads at the first corner basically leads the pack to the flag, with few exceptions.

      However, the potential it shows is in close racing. If the cars could actually follow each other on most tracks like they do through Monaco, the ability to pass wouldn’t be as big of a deal to me. I don’t need X number of passes to make a race good. But there needs to be good battles and the ability to pass—whether it is actually pulled off or not—to make it interesting. If a pass is impossible to achieve, or if a pass is inevitable because of DRS, then what does it matter?

      There are years when Monaco is a procession, but I always watch the entire race because the racing is closer and even if they cannot make a lunge into Sainte Devote or Tabac, it is tantalizing that they might. THAT is what I want more of in every other race—close battles with the threat of passes.

    41. I put slightly agree, but only because I like the idea of a bit of heterogeneity in the season. if every race went to 2 hours, that would also be fine with me and might introduce an extra element of strategy in certain circumstances.

      also, it was the 1997 that was cut short (I think they only did 62 laps and mika salo ran the entire race, finishing in 5th, without stopping for fuel, which no other car managed in the refuelling era).

    42. Adam (@rocketpanda)
      30th May 2019, 11:59

      Personally rather than making the race longer, fiddling with the points or leaving it as it is I think it’d be a better idea just to do away with the race altogether. The cars can’t pass as they’re now too long and too wide, they can’t reach decent speeds and the racing there is very dull. Sure it’s got history, glitz and glamour but just because something’s old and pretty doesn’t make it functional or enjoyable. Probably the second worst track to watch next to Sochi.

    Comments are closed.