With the growth of the F1 calendar in recent years to an agreed maximum of 24 races, concerns are growing certain European races are under the threat. France and Monaco particularly.
The cancelation of the Russian GP this season has meant the schedule for 2022 has been reduced to 23 races. However, Stefano Dominicali recently revealed demand from new race promoters is strong mooting the possibility of “30 races a year”.
Las Vegas, South Africa and a return to China are all realistic possibilities being discussed at present, Yet if the teams refuse to agree an increase in the race calendar, clearly something has to give.
Sergio Perez said this week, were the calendar to extend to 30 races he would “not do it”.
“Right now, you’re basically (immersed in) it because we have so many races. We have simulator sessions before each event. We have a partner events.”
The Mexican explains, “Now… we basically, we have zero time for ourselves and for our families. I have a couple of young children (with a third on the way). I think if the calendar [expands] more, then I definitely will not do it.”
Europe has been the traditional base for F1, but the French and Monaco events for differing reasons could be top of the hit list to be dropped.
Monaco for all its historic glitz and glamour brings a much smaller return to the sport’s owners than ay other event on the calendar under a deal brokered by Bernie Ecclestone.
Further, many drivers admit race day in the principality is somewhat of a procession. Daniel Ricciardo commented this week, “It’s a special weekend.” Yet the Aussie 2018 winner of the race concedes, “It’s one of the trickiest circuits on which to overtake”.
Lewis Hamilton has also weighed in on the Monaco debate when and when asked whether it could be dropped replied. “It’s one of the crown jewels of our sport. So I’m not really sure it would be great to lose it.
“There are good bits… I guess that the difficult part is that the racing itself is not that spectacular.”
The 7 times champion is of course a Monaco resident and as one of the tiny country’s celebrities will have access to the grace and favour of the Crown Prince.
For obvious reasons the Monaco track cannot be modified to accommodate the modern giant F1 cars, though there is hope following the FIA’s commitment this week to regulating the cars to be smaller from 2025.