Monaco have been under significant pressure lately to do something to update modern Formula 1 facilities and create better racing. And it is important that he reacts to this.
It’s a circuit steeped in history, having first staged a Grand Prix in 1929, and in my humble opinion it deserves its place in the calendar alongside circuits like Silverstone, Spa, Suzuka and Monza. These are the tracks on which new circuits are to be judged.
It’s always been a circuit where drivers flirt with disaster and that makes it a bit different. But if everything goes as planned, we usually end up with some sort of procession. To the viewer, aside from the glitz and glamor surrounding the race, everything seems a bit boring.
During my years in Monaco for the grand prix, there have been many changes. They’ve all been subtle and the circuit geometry has changed a bit, but it’s all covered in more or less the same footprint.
No matter how boring it sounds, I can assure you it’s far from it. If you’re a driver or in a team, it’s boring until the checkered flag is raised. On top of that, the prestige it brings if you get a good result is second to none.
That said, with F1 needing to be as entertaining as possible to capture the world’s attention, it’s definitely time for Monaco to seriously consider what could be done to lengthen the circuit. This should be done to create an overtaking opportunity.
It could mean big changes, but it’s essential that those responsible don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. They need to keep what makes Monaco one of the most difficult leads of the season and increase it, rather than take it away.
So here is my proposal. Before entering the tunnel, you turn a little earlier left instead of right at the Portier. The roads in this area already exist, but might need to be redone to level them a bit with some of the road furniture also tidied up to ensure it is suitable for F1 cars.
Then you head to the Beach Plaza Hotel. Here, it may be necessary to create a new “exotic” roundabout and then go back up to join the old lane again just before the tunnel. If you are running two DRS sections you may just need a little bend that requires a touch on the brakes where Portier was just to disengage the DRS before the tunnel, the space is there to have it. I say exotic because it needs to be more than what we currently consider a roundabout. But in Monaco, nothing is normal so that shouldn’t be a problem!
We have a hairpin in Monaco around Lowes, as it used to be called. which requires more steering lock than any other corner on the F1 calendar, so why not another in the form of this roundabout?
We all know that no matter where you go in Monaco, unused land is valuable, but all I would say is make it a reasonable size with a good right braking zone at the entrance to invite some overtaking in the braking zone. He can then sweep left at the exit as we did at the exit of the chicane after the tunnel.
This arrangement has many positive points. The majority of the road work already exists so for the “poor” ACM, or even the inhabitants of the Principality of Monaco in general, it would not be too expensive.
It extends the circuit into an area of Monaco that is not as overgrown as the area the circuit currently uses. It also goes into what has always seemed to be a bit of a peripheral part of Monaco itself. Currently it is recovering land from the Mediterranean in order to connect this area well with the old town and this new roundabout could simply be the entrance to this new complex.
As for the race, it would also offer the opportunity to have one or even two additional DRS zones. Personally I’m not a DRS fan but as we saw this year when Lewis Hamilton trailed Fernando Alonso for many laps as he drove two or three seconds off the pace and still couldn’t or didn’t failed to overtake, we need something for this current spec of car and breed of driver to help overtaking in Monaco.
Overtaking in Formula 1 has never been easy and around Monaco it usually comes down to a driver making a mistake, pit strategy, weather or reliability. This is illustrated by the fact that over the last 20 Monaco Grands Prix, the driver starting in the lead has won 14 times. And as with the 2022 race, it’s usually for strategic reasons that the front-runner on the grid doesn’t win. That’s because with today’s big cars, it’s nearly impossible to overtake on the track. Now, with late braking and very powerful acceleration out of corners, it’s even more difficult.
If there is the will then there is a solution and something like this can be done. It can even incorporate grandstands that will allow the elite who can afford a seat to see the cars twice. Executed correctly, it could become Monaco’s little amphitheater with stalls around the outside of the roundabout.
F1 or its owner Liberty Media could even spend some of its hard-earned cash and build a new pit complex and VIP area above, similar to what it does in Las Vegas!
Realistically, I know that won’t happen given that the objective seems to be to extract money from Monaco. But while it’s good that F1 as a whole is branching out into new territory and making big gains in America, it’s important not to leave behind what has helped make Grand Prix racing what it is. ‘She is.
As for Monaco, they need the grand prix and it’s time they invested in the sustainability of their event with this kind of circuit change to ensure it stays on the calendar for years to come.