Monaco has for much of its association with Formula One been the glamour event where sponsors and celebrities alike coveted a place around the historic track. Yet in recent years some of the glitz has faded from the F1 event in the principality.
Miami appears to have become the new celebrity capital for Formula One and the inaugural race in Vegas will probably exceed anything seen before in F1 in terms of a spectacle.
Monaco not what it was
Yet Monaco has for a number of decades had a special place in Formula One for other reasons, allegedly related to funding Bernie Ecclestone’s acquisition of the commercial rights for the sport.
A deal done by handshake seemed to confer on the organisers of the Monaco GP a much less expensive hosting fee together with the right to control both the advertising around the circuit and the television broadcast around the world.
However with Bernie gone change was inevitable for Monaco with the race itself coming under threat of removal from the calendar.
New 3 year deal
The races are often processional due to the narrow streets and large modern F1 cars with the real excitement taking place on Saturday during qualifying.
The TV broadcast has equally come under fire in recent years as the director has been caught out showing ‘arty’ replays when crucial on track action is occurring live.
A new three year deal was agreed last autumn with the Automobile club of Monaco to host Formula One until 2025. The length of the term appeared strange to seasoned F1 watchers given the modern demand by new venues to join the F1 circus.
TV broadcast returns to F1
Yet it is believed the deal was transitional in nature and the three year length gave a nod to the Monaco GP organisers that they were not merely being steam rolled over.
The hosting fee is believed to have increased though will still be one of the least expensive of the Formula One year.
Further the TV broadcast will be within the remit of FOM and move away from Tele Monte Carlo which has traditionally provided the globally broadcast pictures from the principality.
New upgrades shelved
Much of the F1 TV production is managed from the Biggin Hill base in the south of England and the pictures broadcast around the world are under the control of a single race director.
The Monaco Grand Prix was set to sit in the middle of a triple header of events following the now cancelled Emilia-Romagna event and prior to the Spanish Grand Prix.
A number of the teams were due to bring upgrades to Imola though its uncertain whether they will debut their new components around the streets of Monaco this weekend.
Ferrari understand Red Bull trick
Can Ferrari nick pole?
Car setup for Monaco is very specific and by adding new components whose performance metrics are uncertain may just upset the apple cart is the prevailing opinion.
Mercedes however, with as Christian Horner ironically observed are bringing what sounded like “a whole new car”, are forced to retain their upgrades such is their integral nature to the entire chassis of their developments.
Following two fairly unexciting races in Baku and Miami, the hope for the cancelled Italian race was that Ferrari and Mercedes new upgrades would shake the Red Bull tree in some manner even if just by knocking them from pole position.
Alonso targeted win
Despite Monaco’s race on Sunday unlikely to be a show stopper, there are hopes that Ferrari who have shown superior one lap pace at times may top the time sheets on Saturday.
One or two Ferrari’s heading the field at the start grid on Sunday would throw Red Bull a challenge worth watching as strategy then becomes king on Sunday.
There is a small element of intrigue to play out given Alonso’s previous claim Aston Martin are targeting Monaco for their first win of the season.
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P13 to P6 👏
Watch @LewisHamilton's Miami moves 🕺#MiamiGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/k3PUK1n8cf
— Formula 1 (@F1) May 10, 2023
FOM taking over world feed coverage directing should’ve happened long ago, but better later than never.
No more situations like the Lance Stroll interrupts meme in the 2021 race.