LEWIS HAMILTON – racing in Monaco this weekend – previously hit-out at the ‘crown jewel’ of F1, describing the racing there as “boring”.
Monaco remains the most iconic circuit in F1, but its place on the calendar could be under threat. The track is out of contract after the 2022 grand prix, and has come under fire in recent years for dull races. While the skill required to navigate the streets at high speed is impressive, their narrow nature makes overtaking during the race almost impossible. Many have had choice words for the track over the years, including Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes driver and seven time world champion, who in 2018 voiced his happiness at having got the race over and done with.
After finishing third, the Briton said over his team radio: “Thank God that’s over, that was the most boring race I’ve ever participated in.”
Speaking to the press after the race, he then said: “Our car is very long and struggled with the graining. But yeah, to go away here after such a long race, it felt like the longest race I’ve ever done, probably, it was quite a long race!
“I’m looking forward to the following races, hopefully they’ll be more fun.”
His rant did not end there, as Hamilton said that the drivers were “just cruising from lap six” of the 78 lap race.
He added: “Literally cruising. So it wasn’t really racing.
“I mean, Daniel [Ricciardo] did a great job today, so super happy for him, but ultimately we were all turned down and just cruising around, making sure we get to the end.
“Which, I don’t know if that was exciting for you guys to watch. If it is, no problem.”
While Monaco has remained a big part of the F1 season, reports suggest that many in the sport believe the track needs to change or face the axe.
According to the The i, Formula 1’s owners, Liberty Media, are keen to extend the deal but not on any terms.
The Principality pays a fee of around £10million to host a yearly grand prix, but the infrastructure around the circuit is no longer considered fit for purpose.
Liberty are also said to be unhappy with sponsorship arrangements which allow competing brands associated with the hosts to advertise at the track.
Speaking last month, McLaren chief executive Zak Brown discussed why many in F1 are concerned about the circuit.
He said: “I think Monaco needs to come up to the same commercial terms as other Grands Prix and also maybe needs to work with ways they can adapt their track because as our cars have become bigger, the racing has become more difficult.
“You do need to take into consideration history but then I think you need to take into consideration how the show it puts on.
“There is also an element, which shouldn’t drive our decisions but should be part of our decisions, of what’s the economic contribution to the sport.
“I’d much rather have Monaco than not, but just like the sport is bigger than any one driver or team, I think it’s bigger than any one Grand Prix.”
There have also been reports that Liberty wants Monaco to pay more than its £10million race fee, but president of the Automobile Club de Monaco, Michel Boeri, denied this last month.
He said: “It was implied that the fees required were too excessive for Monaco and that the grand prix would no longer be held.
“That’s untrue. We are still in talks with them and must now seal the deal with a contract.
“I can guarantee you that the grand prix will keep taking place beyond 2022. I don’t know if it will be a three or five-year contract, but that’s a detail.”