Monaco GP winners question format change

Sebastian Vettel after winning the 2017 Monaco Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso have voiced their disappointment at Formula 1’s decision to revert Monaco to a standard three-day race weekend from next season.

Traditionally, on-track action in Monaco has started on Thursday with two practice sessions, before a day off on Friday and returning on Saturday.

It was a unique format that has its roots back in the event’s genesis, with Friday considered a day of rest as a result of Ascension Day and Easter.

In modern times the day has been used as for marketing and commercial purposes.

However, from next year the sport will adopt what has become its standard format, with Friday hosting two practice sessions before final practice and qualifying on Saturday, and the race on Sunday.

“I think we all love Monaco, so to be one day less, that I don’t think it’s good,” said Alonso, who won the race in 2006 and 2007.

“I mean, every team has a different programme or a different marketing schedule, and this is a weekend that is used also for the sponsors and things like that.

“So obviously this year with the COVID we didn’t have that much marketing activities but hopefully next year is a little bit more normal.

“It was a day for the sponsors as well, so we will have I guess on Thursday, more activities, and then from Friday, full focus on track.”

Vettel shared Alonso’s views, joking that the sport was systematically removing anything ‘fun’.

“By the end probably doesn’t make a big difference but it used to be fun to have a day off – not to go partying but you know to have a bit more time to prepare,” the German said.

“It was sort of a Monaco thing.

“Anyways, things that are fun are dying.

“Probably that’s the reason why could shrink to three days; used to be fun, so let’s not do it anymore.”

Pressed on his comments, the two-time Monaco Grand Prix winner clarified that he was joking.

“It was more of a joke,” he clarified.

“But I don’t know why you would change that.

“In Monaco, I think it worked.

“I mean, it was a Monaco one-off, surely you don’t want it everywhere.

“Whatever it is, we’re going to adapt, and I don’t think we’ll notice a difference.”

Monaco first hosted a Grand Prix in 1929 on a circuit largely the same as that raced on today.

It was part of the inaugural world championship in 1950, appearing again in 1952 and has been a mainstay of the schedule since 1955.

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