Written by By Staff Writer
With 21 successive years of expansion, F1 is understood to be searching for ways to make racing more affordable.
The Grand Prix of Monaco will become a three-day race in 2022 as the Formula One series looks to be more appealing to fans in a bid to grow its TV viewing figures.
The long-running event, part of the European Formula One calendar, will be stretched to three days for the first time from 2021 and staged over the weekend of 14-16 June, alongside grands prix in the Netherlands and Canada.
Formula One’s chief executive Chase Carey said that he hoped Monaco would not lose any of its prestige, popularity or even location.
“Monaco’s format has been incredibly popular with its location and prestige but it is no longer financially viable,” he told reporters at a news conference on Thursday.
Carey said that for the first time a Grand Prix could be run over the same weekend as one of Europe’s summer festivals. The traditional opening race in Australia in March will then be held at Albert Park in Melbourne while the Spanish Grand Prix is new to the calendar in Barcelona from March 24 to 28.
The changes will allow Monaco to stay at the centre of the European calendar, although Carey said that in the long-term he wanted to grow the European F1 calendar to have 22 races.
No more back-to-back grands prix
A new format would also require an end to the tradition of back-to-back grands prix on successive weekends. After the first race in Australia Australia, the race in Bahrain two weeks later will revert to a traditional one-off format.
“We want the European season to be seven races, not six,” said Carey. “It is most important for us that the European race year is stretched over nine or 10 weeks. That allows them to deal with their fan base in Europe for the best part of 10 weeks, not the last two weeks as now.”
Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo tweeted his thanks to his team for the “great weekend in Q3”.
The change to an expanded grand prix calendar is part of an effort by Formula One’s new owners, Liberty Media, to generate greater revenues and reach more viewers. It comes shortly after a new distribution agreement with broadcasters Sky and BT was agreed to make the sport more accessible and profitable.
Some competitors are worried that increased crowd numbers and revenue will actually reduce the competitive edge, potentially opening the door to new drivers and changing the characteristics of the grid and the sport itself.
Grand Prix organisers have been asked to submit a plan that will “improve the racing” next year as the rules on technical changes – which include the introduction of a large volume of new aerodynamic parts next year – also begin in earnest.
Carey acknowledged that the sport did need a more sustainable model but said that there were currently “no plans for wholesale changes”.
“The challenges and the opportunities are difficult to ignore. It is extremely important to realize the potential that exists in the sport and achieve the highest standards and be perceived as the greatest entertainment sport in the world. This requires the best drivers,” he said.