It’s time to ditch the Monaco Grand Prix from Formula 1
It’s that time of year again when the super rich scramble for the best spot in Monaco’s Port Hercule – many of whom aren’t there to watch some of the world’s best Formula 1 drivers, but to simply say they were there.
The super yachts line up like sardines in an overpriced tin, paying for a prime spot. But what if you cannot afford the floating hotel? Well of course there’s one of the multitude of expensive hotels or flats to occupy. There’s even a swimming pool overlooking one of the corners.
Few in Formula 1 are moaning that those watching this weekend will be of a different class to the rest of us, it’s part and parcel of Monaco.
Monaco is drab, to be frank
But there’s an argument for the race to be removed from the calendar because it’s not fit for purpose in a modern F1 world and it’s long had its day.
The 19 corners rarely offer excitement, they’re cramped between stretches of tarmac that are somehow described as straights and the whole thing just stinks of boredom.
If you judged the 23 tracks on the calendar this year on just their layout, Monaco would be ditched in a heartbeat.
It’s the occasion of being there that has kept it one of F1’s treasured circuits.
But new Formula 1 fans, who have come to the sport in their droves thanks to Netflix sensation Drive to Survive, have a lesser attachment to the principality’s grandeur.
They want racing, rivalries and wheel-to-wheel hostility. Not an orderly procession whereby recently famous Haas team principal Guenther Steiner has nothing to moan about.
Interest in Formula 1 is arguably at an all-time high, and it’s something the sport must capitalise on before the novelty of 20 blokes in fast and weird looking cars competing against one another wears off.
A senior McLaren figure has previously told City A.M. that they’d back another race in China, a country whose population is predominantly below 64 but above 15 – 17 per cent of the country are below 14 and will grow up recognising decisions F1 owners Liberty Media made in their lifetimes.
There have been other discussions about races in places such as South Africa, on a continent which is expected to see some of the highest GDP growth across the world in the coming years.
Formula 1 must exploit these markets and challenge their fans to follow them to these venues, not rely on an audience segment that’s both ageing and far too traditionalist.
It’s a global trend setter, but Formula 1 must continue to look at solutions to issues before they arrive.
So anchors up and sail away from Monaco – on your super yacht or not – and venture to new markets.
And if there’s that much worry about the super rich’s ability to see split seconds of action from out in a port, we’d better move away from Las Vegas before we even get there.
The point of being a rich sports fan is the ability to change plans and follow the action, wherever it may be.
The wealthy will continue to do that, so let’s start thinking about what the average fan not only wants to experience but can actually realistically aspire to be part of.