Monaco Needs To Stay On The F1 Calendar Forever

MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - MAY 27: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB19 on track during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Monaco at Circuit de Monaco on May 27, 2023 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Saturday’s action-packed qualifying session for the 69th Monaco Grand Prix, provided ample reason why the streets of Monte Carlo should stay on the Formula 1 calendar forever.

Debate emerged recently, about the prospect of F1 outgrowing the street scene of Monaco. However, with the FIA showering the sport with more and more street circuits, it seems that they aren’t going away anytime soon. Rightfully so one could argue, as this weekend’s Monaco qualifying session left F1 fans on the edge of their seats, the tension palpable.

What ensued was a nail-biting, three-way battle for pole position, between local hero in red Charles Leclerc, Spanish veteran Fernando Alonso, and reigning F1 champ Max Verstappen, providing more than enough good reasons to why Monaco must never be ditched.

The iconic place is also very unpredictable, with red flags and weather both being key elements to the ever-shifting dynamic of the circuit, and only the drivers and teams who can adapt to these changes, can truly come out on top.

Piquet Snr: I hate Monaco

piquet patrese monaco crash

Three-time F1 champion Nelson Piquet (pictured above #7 Brabham, Monaco 1985) famously said: “To tell you the truth, I hate Monaco. It’s like riding a bicycle around your living room.” Needless to say, the Brazilian never actually won at the Principality.

Monaco is one of the most difficult tracks to master, perhaps the toughest on cars too, with low-speed corners, full-wheel locked turns, tricky chicanes and barrier rubbing. Invariably a race that has been won consecutively by the best of the best, with legends like Ayrton Senna, who claimed victory here a whopping six times in his career; Michael Schumacher and Graham Hill also come to mind, with five wins apiece at the venue.

It is also one of the first ever Formula 1 Grand Prix circuits to have existed within the sport, taking place in 1929 for the very first time, albeit very different to the one we see now. However, since it became part of the FIA F1 calendar in 1954, much of the original layout remains.

The exit of the final Antony Nogues bend (named after the man who conceived the great race to promote Monaco in 1929) and the main straight remain the same; the angle of Sainte Devote has varied over the years but from there through Beau Rivage, Massenet, Casino, both Mirabeaus, the Hairpin, Portier and the Tunnel remains the exact same, barring of course, countless layers of new tarmac over the years and numerous new buildings..

Heritage, danger, skills, bravery and unpredictability are all Monaco traits

Photo by Paul Velasco 1991 Monaco Grand Prix, Monte Carlo Ayrton Senna, McLaren-Honda

These are all words used to describe, and are associated, with the great Monte Carlo track, all excellent reasons why Monaco needs to stay on the F1 calendar, after all it is not the sport’s ‘Crown Jewel’ for nothing.

The top drivers prevail here, overcoming red flags, weather changes, hectic restarts, and ever-close encounters with the metal walls that surround the track. The race’s history is littered with surprise results and a long list of thrillers, that are familiar to many.

While many tracks on the F1 calendar are all about what teams and drivers can do on the biggest weekend in their roster, on the unforgiving streets of Monte Carlo, the onus is much more on the driver who not only has rivals to contend with but also his own limits, which are tested with every scraped barrier.

Thus, no surprise that the race every driver (except maybe Piquet!) wants to win during their F1 career, is the Grand Prix de Monaco, which is the very best reason to keep it on the calendar forever!