With F1 approaching its 24-race limit and new Grands Prix in Las Vegas and Qatar coming on board, there is increasing competition between the current venues to keep their spots on the calendar.
F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali has made it clear that even classic circuits must earn their place and cannot rely on past success to guarantee future Grands Prix.
This conversation has led to suggestions that Monaco could be one of the races under threat, given that it is an outlier in F1’s business model in terms of the rights hosting fee and its television production.
Frenchman Pierre Gasly said he would find it hard to accept Monaco losing its place as the race has been such an integral part of F1 history and even predates the World Championship as it was first held in 1929.
It has featured on the F1 calendar for 67 of the World Championship’s 73 seasons since it began in 1950, was part of that year’s original seven-round calendar and was held every year between 1955 and 2019 before the 2020 pandemic forced its cancellation.
It’s also part of motorsport’s unofficial Triple Crown, along with IndyCar’s Indianapolis 500 and the Le Mans 24 Hours sports car race.
AlphaTauri driver Gasly, whose best Monaco result in three starts in 2019 was fifth for Red Bull, said Monaco was his favorite circuit of the year.
“It would be a bit of a shock if Monaco were dropped from the calendar,” he remarked.
“It’s probably the most legendary race in the world.
Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri AT02
Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images
“Speaking to non-F1 fans, everyone had heard about Monaco for different reasons, whether it’s for racing, whether it’s for parties or all the action surrounding the Grand Prix. It’s a very iconic weekend.
“I think and I really hope that we will experience it as drivers because it’s probably the toughest track of the season, the most demanding and my favorite track.”
Gasly said a number of historic venues – like Spa-Francorchamps – are important enough to feature on the calendar.
OPINION: Why classic F1 circuits like Spa and Silverstone shouldn’t be jeopardized
“Obviously I have a very special bond with these races,” he said.
“My home race (France) and Monaco kind of feels like a home race, then Spa is the closest race to my hometown so I usually have a lot of support there.
“I think these are very iconic circuits, especially Spa and Monaco, these are my two favorite circuits. I think they are part of Formula 1 history and DNA and should be on the calendar every year.
“We know F1 these days, there are a lot of things that go into planning the whole season so we’ll see what happens. But personally, I really hope we can keep them for the next few years.”
Monaco’s F1 contract expires after this year’s race, but Automobile Club de Monaco president Michel Boeri said this week he was adamant a new deal would be negotiated with F1.
“I would like to refer to what has been read in the press saying that we may have difficulties organizing grand prix racing beyond the 2022 event, so as early as next year,” Boeri said at an event with the marshals ahead of next month’s race, aloud Monaco newspaper.
Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren MCL35M, Fernando Alonso, Alpine A521
Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images
“It has been implied that the fees requested by Liberty [Media] are too exaggerated for Monaco and the Grand Prix will no longer be held.
“That is not true. We are still in talks with them and now have to seal the deal with a contract.
“I can guarantee you that the Grand Prix will take place beyond 2022. I don’t know if it will be a three-year or five-year deal, but that’s a detail.”