By Dylan Bettencourt
Formula One heads to Monaco this weekend for the Grand Prix widely considered to be the crown jewel of F1 racing.
But the famous race through the streets of the picturesque city has suffered from developments in the sport.
Street circuits as a concept have been questioned since F1 cars were made that much larger and wider.
When the race was first held around the streets of Monte Carlo, the speeds were very different. In 1950 Juan Manuel Fangio won the race at a leisurely average speed of 120 kph — and that was before the chicanes around the swimming pool! Today the average speed is closer to 200 kph.
In the 2000 Grand Prix, Michael Schumacher in his Ferrari would have lapped Fangio in his Alfa Romeo every three laps.
And with Monaco being the tightest of all tracks on the calendar, racing often takes a backseat. Overtaking around the Monaco circuit has become a very rare sight for the fans.
There were rumours and reports a year ago that F1 would not renew its contract with Monaco for the Grand Prix, seemingly making last year’s race the final one.
The parties came to an agreement for the next few years to keep racing around the famous track.
The Monaco Grand Prix straddles the lines of pure entertainment off-track, with the race either a warmup or a cooldown for the party animals on their yachts.
Even people who are not fans of the sport often tune in to see which celebrity they can spot on the many yachts parked in the harbour around the narrow streets of the track.
It is a track that tests every ounce of ability and drivers have to remain focused for extended periods of time. One mistake at Monaco often results in a race-ending collision.
This makes Saturday’s qualifying session the most important of the weekend; most often, whoever qualifies first wins the race.
As F1 pushes towards making the racing more entertaining for the “new generation” of fans, it feels as if Monaco does not quite fit into that plan.
After the Imola Grand Prix was cancelled last weekend, fans are desperate for drama. Wheel-to-wheel racing is what the sport is after but not much of that will happen this weekend in Monaco.
Pictured above: Monaco Grand Prix
Image source: Twitter