Monaco has traditionally spread its race weekend over four days, holding the opening two practice sessions on Thursday before using Friday as a rest day for the F1 paddock.
The tradition dated back to the race’s original scheduling on a bank holiday weekend, but was maintained to allow traffic to flow through the area and assists businesses in preparing for the weekend.
But as F1 plans for next year’s calendar, which is set to be revealed in mid-October and finalised at the next FIA World Motor Sport Council meeting, the Monaco weekend will now switch to a traditional format.
It is anticipated that the addition of the Miami Grand Prix to the schedule in May will force Spain and Monaco to go back-to-back. While this has been achieved in the past with a four-day Monaco weekend, the switch to the normal three-day format will ease some logistical pressures.
“Monaco will be in three days, straightaway,” F1 boss Domenicali said in an interview with CNN.
“So [it will be] Friday, Saturday and Sunday instead of Thursday, a hole, then Saturday and Sunday. Yes, that is the change we’re going to introduce next year.”
During the interview, Domenicali confirmed that the plan was to stage a 23-race calendar again next year after initially targeting the figure in 2021, only for the ongoing pressures of the pandemic to drop this figure to 22.
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B, Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12, Carlos Sainz Jr., Ferrari SF21, Lando Norris, McLaren MCL35M, and the rest of the field at the start
Photo by: Jerry Andre / Motorsport Images
Domenicali also stated that the French Grand Prix would be returning, and that the plan would be to end the season earlier than in 2021, when the final race is scheduled for 12 December in Abu Dhabi.
“The plan is that we’re going to have 23 races,” Domenicali said.
“We’re going to announce the calendar at the World Council, on the 15 October. The idea is to finish earlier than what we finished this year.”
F1 is yet to finalise which race will complete this year’s calendar, holding a TBC slot for a Middle East round on 21 November, but an announcement is expected in the coming weeks.
The major format change F1 introduced at three races this year was a Saturday sprint race, and the format could be set for expansion next year following a review of its format and implementation.
Domenicali said that he remains positive about its impact, believing it offers more action to fans and helps create greater unpredictability.
“It’s a plus because first of all, we are giving to the people something new every day, to the media, to the people who are coming to the track,” Domenicali said.
“To the interest and the preparation for the teams, from our perspective, the more unpredictable are the races, the better they are.”