Wolff expects Monaco Grand Prix will get new deal to stay on F1 calendar

2022 Monaco Grand Prix

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Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff is confident Formula 1 will agree terms with the Monaco Grand Prix promoter to keep the race on the calendar.

The historic venue held its first grand prix before the world championship began and has only been absent from the calendar once since 1955, due to the Covid-19 pandemic two years ago. However its current deal expired after this year’s race.

Despite speculation over its future, Wolff sees a strong chance Monaco will reappear on the 2023 F1 calendar.

“I think there is a commercial debate to be held,” he said. “But both parties clearly will find a compromise because we need Monaco and Monaco needs Formula 1.”

He expressed some frustration at the confined track layout after Lewis Hamilton lost a significant amount of time in the second half of Sunday’s race due to Fernando Alonso slowing ahead of him.

“If a car can really slow down by almost five seconds and hold everybody up, it’s just a shame for the racing here,” said Wolff. “So maybe we can look at the track layout or things we can do so we’re not having a procession and it’s basically a strategy game or a qualifying race.”

However he admitted hopes of modifying the track layout were “wishful thinking” due to the limited space available. “I wouldn’t know where else we can drive than around these roads,” Wolff admitted.

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McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl is especially fond of the race and hopes F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali will agree terms to keep it on future calendars.

“It’s my favourite race weekend of the year, since ever,” said Seidl. “I just like the tradition, the history.

“I like the atmosphere here in this city during the race weekend. I like the walk in the morning from the other bay into the city and in the evening. So therefore, I would be very happy if we keep coming to Monaco.

“In the end, how the race calendar looks like is a decision Stefano has to make. As you know, there is huge interest from a lot of different venues to host a race.

“At the same time Stefano as a racing guy with a long career also in Formula 1 I think is also aware that it’s important to have the right mix between traditional races plus new venues.

“But last, but not least, obviously also the financial aspects also play an important role. So in the end I’ll leave that to Stefano to decide how that would look like in the future.

“Does Monaco need Formula 1? I can’t judge. Does Formula 1 need Monaco? From my personal point of view yes, but obviously there’s a bigger picture as I just explained that needs to be considered.”

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43 comments on “Wolff expects Monaco Grand Prix will get new deal to stay on F1 calendar”

  1. As Seidil, I too like the tradition, the history, but the race is terrible and this is a motor sport.
    We can’t continue to overlook the most important factor, the racing part.

    1. The ‘racing part’ has no value without history and heritage. It’s not one or the other. You trade a ‘dull’ race (though I must be rare in that I don’t think the race is dull, it’s full of peril) with the heritage it brings. F1 without Monaco is just another race series. i.e a good race at some random circuit only has value because of the inherent value F1 has baked in due to event sdlike Monaco. Good racing requires people to actually care.

      For example, The World KZ Karting Championship has equally as good drivers (Travsisnuttu, Denner etc…), has multiple manufacturers, and brilliant unfiltered non-DRS, non-BOP, pure racing. However it does lack of perceived lack of heritage and thus value to the general motorsport audience and culture. No one cares. Apart from a small bunch of us.

      1. Not sure about that. I think you can have good racing and no history or heritage – how else does a new venue start – but not the other way round. It is called motor ‘racing’, after all.

  2. I also expect Monaco to stay, but I hope for at least one thing & that’s FOM finally taking over world feed coverage directing from TMC.

    1. There has been nothing but complaints about the TV direction this year from FOM, and it’s been as widespread as I can ever remember. Why has Monaco’s director suddenly become public enemy #1? That I find somewhat strange.

      1. @Alan Dove Nothing different in FOM’s direction from before.
        Monaco’s direction hasn’t only suddenly become a target for complaints but has been this way for a long time.

      2. While the quality of FOMs TV direction seems to have fallen a bit this year, Monaco’s TV direction has been terrible and criticised for years. It’s a recurring theme here every year.

        1. True. I’m tired of the constant focus on ‘celebrities’ at the races. I don’t know who most of them are and really don’t care. Follow the cars instead…….

        2. @losd, I don’t feel FOM’s direction quality has worsened from before. Miami GP is only an exception.

      3. Alan Dove, as noted by others, the criticism is anything but sudden – Tele Monte Carlo has never been considered particularly great at covering the race for a long time. The complaints have been ratcheting up over the past five or six years in particular, but you can find complaints about poor TV direction going back to the 2000s.

        It’s not that FOM’s coverage is without criticism either, but the attitude seems to be that TMC is significantly worse than that and so giving FOM the coverage rights would still be a marked improvement.

  3. Slowing down and holding someone behind is not specific Monaco. We have seen it before at other tracks for example Hamilton 2016 Abu Dhabi and Perez 2021. I like Monaco because it’s unforgiven on tiny mistakes unlike the tracks with wide runoff area’s. Can be a procession in the race but qualifying is always exiting. Maybe give some more time in Q3 for pole qualifing laps. Don’t understand why so many people complain about a boring procession but still turn on their televison every year

    1. Abu Dhabi is a terrible circuit. It should go, too.

      1. You can slow down the pace at any circuit so if thats a criteria… the main factor like alonso said is the tyre managment it prevents drivers to push because it only hurts your race at the end.

  4. Heard an interesting discussion on a podcast about monaco. It already has some different rules – track length, race length, tv rights. So why not add some other odd rules, eg:

    – all 3 tyre compounds must be used
    – qualifying heats
    – some change to points system? Eg award points for qualifying sprints/ laps led / 2nd FLAP / 3rd FLAP

    If they want to keep it then thinking outside the box is required. Keep the event, change the race concept.

    1. @Depailer Having to use all three compounds would be overboard.
      However, I’d be open to making the whole event a qualifying/time trial one but with standard points.

    2. Yes to all of these, and more, Depailer.
      Monaco is 100% a novelty event for F1 – there’s no harm in treating it as such with some more unique features.
      Positive ones, preferably, that make the Sunday at least as important as the Saturday.

    3. Just add a point for every position gained (other than through retirements).

  5. Monaco is an anachronism. A circuit and event of an era completely gone.

    The race was epic when drivers would push to the fullest at all times, qualy, and every single race lap, which made Monaco visceral and brutal. In the times of saving tyres, motors, cruising, it’s at times almost farcical.

    The event itself was impressive when looking millionaires and their extravagant way of life was considered entertainment. “Glamour” was something some people actually cared about. We live now (or, are at least more aware of) in a time of constant economic and social crises, coupled with the constant shrinking of the middle class. Watching rich people flex makes me roll my eyes.

    I hope Monaco goes. It won’t. But I hope.

    1. Motorsport is an anachronism. It’s not a valid argument point with regard to Monaco’s place on the calender.

      “We live now (or, are at least more aware of) in a time of constant economic and social crises, coupled with the constant shrinking of the middle class. Watching rich people flex makes me roll my eyes.”

      F1 is literally rich people flexing. Doesn’t seem fair to label Monaco as ‘rich people flexing’, or infer as such, when F1 is the total embodiment in that.

      Monaco isn’t just about glamour either. Its history and heritage, as well as being the best cirucit on the calendar to watch drivers drive F1 cars.

      1. Motorsport isn’t an anachronism, as a product, if anything, is more actual that has been in years, hence the increase in viewership.

        Yes, a lot of motorsport is rich people flexing, but it’s almost the whole point of Monaco.

        History and heritage are pointless if they block beneficial changes, like removing a boring race from the calendar.

        1. Motorsport is as much an anachronism as Monaco is. It’s is a wildly wasteful activity in a modern context. It’s almost exclusively for the most wealthy people, especially cars. It’s particularly dangerous too. You only have to look at (often declined) planning applications for new circuits in the UK (see the battle Chasewater is having) to see that the whole sport pretty much survives on an infrastructure of a bygone era (i.e WW2 airfields) where tracks were not seen as environmentally damaging and distasteful. My point there is new circuits (‘is more actual’) are finding it increasingly difficult to get planning permission. if anything councils and the like are working to get venues closed down (see Birmingham Wheels)

          So its history and heritage that literally keeps motorsport alive. It’s the cultural foundation by which it is seen as an acceptable and justifiable activity. Without it… motorsport is dead.

          So I totally reject the notion Monaco needs to change because it’s a ‘boring race’, and that heritage and history is of secondary importance. It’s of the upmost importance.

          Also, it’s one of the most interesting races of the year. The plethora of photos, amazing video and stories form any Monaco weekend justifies its place alone.

          1. Motorsport is alive because people like it. And people like it for a plethora of reasons, most certainly not only due to “heritage and tradition”. In fact, everytime those words are brought up to fight against any change (the V12, the V8, the noise, the halo), they always end up demonstrating how little role heritage and tradition” end up having.

            If you like Monaco, good for you, if you enjoy heritage abd tradition for its own sake, good for you, my points are not directed at you.

    2. I disagree about the bygone era of pushing every lap. That was never the case, especially with the fragile cars of yesteryear, where a missed shift or revving to high was an instant DNF. If anything, today the cars are mechanically so sound that they are flogged every lap.

      I think TV doesn’t help. TV directors are dead set against showing the speed of the cars. When we watch downhill skiing, there is no “racing” going on with each run, but we can see that this is an incredible act of skill and fitness, because it’s presented differently. There is zero chance any normal person could get even like a Porsche GT3 around that course close to the car’s limit without totaling the car.

      I do agree that the stunting and flossing at Monaco is kind of lame. It’s not like the place has some industry that creates anything—it’s a fancy Atlantic City. Oh they have royals–descendants of some 9th century European warlords still coasting on ill-gotten gains. Bully for them. Monaco seeks very arriviste and try-hard to me, and not at all glamorous or interesting. That said, scenery and setting is beautiful. There is no race that looks like this.

  6. Was racing better in the 80s when cars were slimmer? Or was it the same? Is it an issue with cars being too wide now?

    1. Wasn’t much better in the 80’s, @hatebreeder – but at least back then blue flags were used differently, strategy was less predetermined and optimised, car/tyre performance was more volatile, and reliability was much lower leading to more DNF’s (all good things for viewers). All this meant predictability was a fraction of what it currently is.

      But actual car-car racing was still poor, and has been – well, pretty much forever at Monaco.

    2. @hatebreeder The cars were actually a similar width in the 80s than they are now & at times were actually marginally wider.

      The minimum width was 2m up until 1998 where the cars were narrowed to 1.8m as part of the rules package to cut grip to reduce cornering speeds (Along with the introduction of Grooved tyres). They were changed back to the 2m width at the start of 2017.

  7. Sadly, I think they will renew contracts – I really wish that some significant changes were made to the event format.
    I can think of several alternative formats that would be much more interesting to watch (cycling has some great ideas, for example) that keep cars, and even team pairings, competing against each other on the track simultaneously, but without being able to hold each other up.
    Not only would changing format be far more unique and interesting, it might help to keep the event on the calendar (for those who want it) and would make it truly special and something more people would look forward to.

  8. On the topic of running Monaco to a different format, I’d rather they leave the format as it is.

    Qualifying doesn’t need to be touched as that is the most exciting & spectacular session (During any race weekend but more so at Monaco) & trying to get a lap in with all the traffic in Q1/Q2 with the risk of yellow/flags just add’s to that tension & creates a different set of challenges.

    And i’d rather the race remain a Grand Prix of 78 laps because part of the challenge which I enjoy about the Monaco GP is drivers having to keep concentration up throughout when they were running so close to the barriers where one lapse can end your day. That is what I love about Monaco & something that would be lost with some of the common format change proposals. It just wouldn’t be the Monaco GP without the actual GP.

    Also think of how many moments would have been lost (Including a few of the most iconic moments from F1’s history which get replayed over & over) had Monaco not been run as a 78 lap GP.

    I also just in general don’t like the idea of different race weekends running to different formats with potentially different points systems. That is one of the reasons I don’t like the sprint weekend format for instance.

    1. because part of the challenge which I enjoy about the Monaco GP is drivers having to keep concentration up throughout

      Except that it’s not true anymore (if it ever was). Most recently, Alonso has proven yet again that provided you have track position, there’s no need to drive hard, @stefmeister. You can simply cruise around defending all Sunday afternoon, well within your limits and never taking risks.
      That’s not a challenge – and still wouldn’t be even if it went for 178 laps.
      And even if you do take risks to chase down someone ahead, you can’t overtake them, so there’s no point.
      Risk management is very real and taken extremely seriously in modern F1.

      The reason qualifying at Monaco is so (relatively) spectacular is because it isn’t just setting the order for the grid, it goes a huge way to setting the race result. The good Saturday has come at the expense of Sunday.

      And I know there’ll be responses of “Well that’s not F1, go watch something else” – but I’ll ‘ask’ why is it that most other motorsports series in the world do use different formats for different events?
      What do they know that F1 refuses to learn?

      1. “And I know there’ll be responses of “Well that’s not F1, go watch something else” – but I’ll ‘ask’ why is it that most other motorsports series in the world do use different formats for different events?
        What do they know that F1 refuses to learn?”

        none of them are in the same universe as F1 though and have to do almost anything they can to attract the measly number of viewers they get compared to F1.

        this is a perennial problem in motorsport. F1 dominates the landscape, and yet we have calls for it to be more like vastly less successful series in an attempt at ‘fixing’ what amount to non-problems.

        A ‘boring’ F1 race at Monaco pretty much smashes every other race-series out of orbit in terms of viewing figures.

      2. why is it that most other motorsports series in the world do use different formats for different events?

        I think the only series that do run different formats at different rounds do so mainly because it’s what they have traditionally always done for reasons dating back to the start of the series.

        Is there any top level world championship tier series that use different formats at different races?

        I guess you could argue WEC with the different race lengths but even then the basic format remains the same & again it’s something that Sportscar racing has traditionally always done.

        1. Format can mean a number of things – as you point out, duration is one of them.

          I wish we could collectively get over this idea of tradition being the most important thing in the universe. No force has brought more events and organisations to their knees than the desire to stick too strictly to tradition and ‘the way things were always done.’ Ask the (now former) Williams F1 team, if you want an example…
          I’m no fan of Liberty and many of the changes they are making – but I can easily see that without them, F1 would not have lasted much longer without needing major life-saving surgery. ‘Tradition’ was driving F1 into the ground, and is still holding them back in so many ways.

          Why, other than tradition, can’t F1 make some events truly unique?
          F1 can do whatever its owners and administrators want it to do… Sprint races are a breath of fresh air in that sense, but are only the beginning of the changes that should be made to update F1 to new and changing audience tastes.
          And even to satisfy people who’ve been watching for more than 30 years, as I have. I have no faith they’ll ever really fix the cars and make them awesome again, so the best I can hope for is venues and event formats that are more interesting.
          All sport, when held for an audience, is entertainment. Embrace it, and be entertaining.

          1. “I’m no fan of Liberty and many of the changes they are making – but I can easily see that without them, F1 would not have lasted much longer without needing major life-saving surgery.”

            Nope. F1 was enormous before Liberty bought them, and they’ve largely rode the wave of social media, which really wasn’t hard to do. It was never going to be on ‘life support’.

            Also Football is incredibly traditional and it was the hardcore ‘tradition’ of club and league football that done away from the ‘Super League’ concept. Unless you believe the Super League was a more up-to-date concept and should have been implimented.

          2. I don’t watch ‘football’ – it’s exceptionally boring. And too traditional.
            And I’m on the other side of the world, where that type of football is not popular anyway.
            Besides, we aren’t talking about football – we are talking about motorsport, which comes in a thousand different flavours.
            Very few people want the same flavour every single time they have something.

            Monaco is already an outsider event – I’m merely supporting making it a truly unique one that actually has an individual flavour – not just the same flavour in a different bowl.

            Sure, F1 was big when Liberty bought it – and look at all the changes they are making to it, in order to maintain and grow it. Modernise it, update it, make it fresher and more interesting, rather than something stale that boring, stuffy old men dream about.
            And what do we hear from those stuffy old men? Nothing but complaints. “Too many changes, too many gimmicks, stop racing in places I don’t like, everything’s just about money, it was better before, out with Liberty, out with Pirelli, more testing, less racing…..”

          3. @Alan Dove

            F1 was dying before Liberty took it over. Hemorrhaging TV viewers, filling way less seats, it had zero profile in America anymore, a budget cap less F1 was well on its way to seeing F1 no longer have 10 teams and the delay directly resulted in Williams having to sell out completely, McLaren to sell Woking, its heritage (most of its iconic race cars) and major stock percentages in the company. Sauber would have likely been gone too without it.

    2. Completly agree with you. The format should be the same for every race but I think qualifying format should change if possible for all races. There is too little time in Q3 to set a decent lap and challenge pole in Monaco due to traffic and red flags. They could give more time in q3 and combine q1 and q2 in one session. Not only in Monaco but for all weekends same format as Motogp

  9. There are many other tracks that are almost as unforgiving towards mistakes as Monte-Carlo, yet provide opportunities for true racing. Monaco should be the place of a season opening F1 car parade or else, rather than being a total waste of a race weekend and 78 laps.

    1. The last race has put Perez right back in the title race hunt. Hardly a ‘wasted’ weekend.

  10. Stupid question: why don’t they lose the chicane after the tunnel and the one before rascasse? Would it be too dangerous for the spectators?

    1. @fw11b Argument for not removing the chicane after the tunnel has always been that there isn’t enough runoff at tabac. It’s not just about the speed they would be doing there but also how narrow the track is & the fact it’s lined with armco barriers which aren’t really geared for impacts of the sorts of speeds/angles they would be taking.

      I also doubt removing the chicane after the tunnel would help much as the run into tabac is narrower than the exit of the tunnel with a shorter braking zone than into the chicane. If you could get alongside before the track started to narrow then maybe it opens up an opportunity, But if your still behind just past where the chicane currently is then the car ahead can just move towards the middle of the track & there’s no room for the car behind to try anything.

      Removing the second part of the swimming pool may work better but again the runoff/barriers at Rasscasse aren’t geared towards cars arriving at those speeds & it’s not easy to alter them to make them better.

      And I know some will argue that speeds are higher at places like Jeddah, Miami & Singapore but those tracks are wider, have more runoff with barriers able to be angled to better suit the type of accident somebody is likely to have. And in a weird way the concrete is a bit safer in terms of cars not been at risk of punching through them at higher speeds & certain angles like they are armco (Romain Grosjeans Bahrain 2020 crash been the most extreme example). Plus you have more options with concrete in terms of tyres, tecpro & safer walls to introduce a bit of extra protection.

  11. I’ve heard that a one year extension for Monaco has been agreed in principle.

    Paul Ricard won’t be on the 2023 calendar.

    And as of right now Spa, Montreal, Monza & Suzuka are also at risk of not been extended beyond current deals which end after the 2023/24.

    New York have also approached Liberty about hosting a street race. Stefano shot it down publicly but I hear that discussions are still been had & that should they come to an agreement New York will be added as a 4th race in the US possibly in 2025 with it then effectively replacing COTA once it’s deal expires.

    Liberty love the idea of hosting street races in or close to destination cities in order to create a “Big game festival atmosphere which isn’t possible at traditional circuits that are miles away from the rustle & bustle of the big cities”. They are basically taking the CART idea of hosting what they called ‘Street festivals of speed’ but throwing more money it.

    1. Liberty love the idea of hosting street races in or close to destination cities in order to create a “Big game festival atmosphere which isn’t possible at traditional circuits that are miles away from the rustle & bustle of the big cities”. They are basically taking the CART idea of hosting what they called ‘Street festivals of speed’ but throwing more money it.

      it also avoids any issues with running events completely outside of any possible FIA jurisdiction. With these kind of street events F1 could technically function totally outside of the normal motorsport infrastructure if needs be.

    2. @gt-racer Greg Maffei is actually the one (unless both did so separately) who shot down the NYC idea adding they don’t plan on any more US races, but never say never.
      More relevantly, a single-year extension for Monaco is somewhat unsurprising if indeed true & so is Paul Ricard’s demise.
      Spa’s current deal also expires this year, but for now, I’m still confident about this track.
      Nevertheless, losing Spa, Monza, or Suzuka would be a pity, even Montreal & COTA to a lesser extent.

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