Formula 1

Gasly: Losing Monaco GP from F1 calendar would be a “shocker”

With F1 getting close to its limit of 24 races, and new grands prix coming on board in Las Vegas and Qatar, there is increasing competition among the current venues to retain their places on the calendar.

F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali has been clear that even classic circuits need to earn their spot and cannot rely on past glories to guarantee future grands prix.

That talk has prompted suggestions that Monaco could be one of the races under threat, especially as it is an outlier on F1’s business model in terms of rights hosting fee and its television production.

Frenchman Pierre Gasly said he would find it difficult to accept Monaco losing its place, as the race has been such an intrinsic part of F1 history and even pre-dates even the world championship, having first been staged in 1929.

It has formed part of the F1 calendar in 67 of the world championship’s 73 seasons since it began in 1950, was part of that year’s original seven-round calendar, and was held every year between 1955 and 2019 before the pandemic forced its cancellation in 2020.

It also forms part of motorsport’s unofficial Triple Crown, together with IndyCar’s Indianapolis 500 and the Le Mans 24 Hours sportscar race.

AlphaTauri driver Gasly, whose best Monaco finish in three starts was fifth for Red Bull in 2019, said Monaco was his favourite track of the year.

“That would be a bit of a shocker if Monaco gets taken out of the calendar,” he remarked.

“It’s probably the most iconic race in the world.

Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri AT02

Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri AT02

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

“Talking to non-F1 fans, everyone had heard about Monaco for various reasons, whether it’s racing, whether it’s party-related, whether it’s all of the action that happens around the grand prix. It’s a very iconic weekend.

“I think, and I really hope, we get to experience it as drivers because it’s probably the toughest track of the season, the most challenging, and is my favourite one.”

Gasly said that a number of historic venues – like Spa-Francorchamps as well – were important enough to remain as ever-presents on the calendar.

OPINION: Why classic F1 tracks like Spa and Silverstone should not be at risk

“Obviously to me, I have a very special attachment to these races,” he said.

“My home race (France), and Monaco kind of feels like a home race, then Spa is the closest race from my home town, so I usually have a lot of support there.

“I think they are very iconic tracks, especially Spa and Monaco, they are my two favourite tracks. I think they are part of the history and DNA of Formula 1 and they should be on the calendar every year.

“We know F1 nowadays, there are a lot of things involved in how to plan the whole season, so we’ll see what happens. But personally, I really hope we can keep them over the next few years.”

Monaco’s F1 contract expires after this year’s race, but the Automobile Club de Monaco’s president, Michel Boeri, said this week he was adamant a new deal would get sorted with F1.

“I’d like to refer to what has been read in the press, where it is said that we may struggle to keep organising grand prix races beyond the 2022 event, so as early as next year,” Boeri said at an event with the marshals ahead of next month’s race, according to La Gazette de Monaco.

Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren MCL35M, Fernando Alonso, Alpine A521

Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren MCL35M, Fernando Alonso, Alpine A521

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

“It was implied that the fees required by Liberty [Media] were too excessive for Monaco and 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.”

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