Hamilton calls for Monaco track changes

Photo by: www.kymillman.com/f1

Monaco has changed over the years. There’s little doubt about that and even though they’ve been racing there since the 1920’s, it hasn’t changed radically since then. In the 70’s they redesigned the track to encompass the swimming pool section. Some modifications for a smaller and faster chicane in the late 70’s. In the mid-80’s they added the Nouvelle Chicane and in 1997 they redesigned the swimming pool section.

After reclaiming some of the land from the bay, they redesigned the pits and pit lane which added more space for the teams which was a welcome alteration for sure. All things given, it has changed a few times with the largest changes adding the Piscine section and the pitlane changes. Still, the track layout has remained very similar to the original. After Sunday’s race, that might not be good enough anymore.

In what Fernando Alonso called the most boring Formula 1 race ever and echoed by Lewis Hamilton, the latter told the press that maybe it’s time to redesigned the Monaco circuit and make it longer.

“It was insane how little l was pushing – the least l can ever remember. There was a point where l was ten seconds behind and l was conflicted because in my heart l was ‘I still want to win the race’ and they were like ‘no, just bring it home’. I just love racing.

“So what can we do to make this one better?”

Hamilton had an answer to his own question.

“I spoke to Prince Albert the other day and said maybe we should make it longer. There are more roads so maybe we can change this great track and make it even better.

“Or maybe the format should change. You shouldn’t be able to do a one-stop race here. There has to be some mixed-up things. Maybe we need two races.

“But that was the longest 78 laps ever!”

I watched the race on Sunday and to be honest, I enjoyed it and found there to be some intrigue and decent passing and defending. There are those who don’t like Monaco and it seems each year they offer more and more complaints about how processional it is and what a boring race it is.

I jumped on social media to see the reaction and from what I could tell, younger fans are among some of the most ardent supporters of changing the circuit.

One enterprising chap decided to post a video of the famous Ayrton Senna lap as an example of how exciting the Monaco GP used to be and how boring it is no, thus, we need to change it because young fans won’t stand for it any longer.

I didn’t want to come across as a jerk but the video he posted says everything you need to know about what really is wrong with Monaco. Daniel Ricciardo claimed pole this weekend and the hard core F1 fans will know that was some stunning onboard lap footage. When compared to Senna’s lap, it’s not the same. When Lewis’s race is compared to that of Senna’s race, it’s not the same…but the track is.

What!!?? Are you a luddite? F1 has always been the pinnacle of technology and that is true but perhaps the cars have advanced so far that the visceral experience of Monaco isn’t the same as it used to be. Driver’s weren’t able to take Eau Rougue flat out either but times change.

So now we have cars with epic technology and downforce and Lewis trundled around not pushing during the Monaco Grand Prix. Perhaps there is room to change the circuit and make it longer but is that the right idea? If you reduced aerodynamic downforce and made the cars more of a handful to manage, I think you would find Monaco to be quite the challenge. But that, some fans would argue, is going backwards and where is the logic in that?

F1 owners have suggested that making some track changes that react in ways conducive to better racing given the current car technology and regulations is a possibility. Would Monaco be a place ripe for that change? What do you think?

I’m not in favor of changing Monaco, or other tracks, to suit the current cars. I feel we’ve swung the pendulum too far toward the engineering spectrum and lost a bit of the driver element in F1. Indycar might be a good example that just because you can do something on a car doesn’t always mean you should. The cars at this year’s Indy 500 were a handful and many drivers lost the rear end of the car. Perhaps using technology to make the cars more of a handful could be a move in the right direction? Maybe not.

Hat Tip: Sky Sports F1

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Carrizojim

I would rather just get rid of Lewis…

jakobusvdl

They could just change him, possibly make him a bit longer ;-)

TarheelPup

Monaco is absolutely my favorite track. The setting is beautiful. The layout is absolutely unique. The fact that it’s nearly unchanged gives a connection to the history of the sport. Elevation changes. Almost no run-off areas. Literally an inch from disaster. Monaco requires not only perfect, precision driving but also perfect pit stops and perfect strategy. Sure, it is ALMOST impossible to pass there, but that “almost” is what makes it unique. Since I come from that background I have to compare losing Monaco to NASCAR losing Rockingham and other short tracks. I think you can draw a direct line… Read more »

Rapierman

Okay, so let’s at least look at the track. Yes, it’s twisty. Yes, the streets are narrow. No opportunity for going flat out. No opportunity for a pass because there are so many chicanes. There’s been at least one crash in the past nine years. So, how do we make it safe? Well, since the streets are so narrow and there are so many chicanes, it also makes it difficult to navigate, so…looking at the chicanes, I start to think: Do we really need that 90-degree sharp right at Saint Devote? Sure, there’s that pit exit lane there, but you… Read more »

peter

The issue clearly seems to be the size of the cars. When you saw the two rosberg’s go around the circuit the thing that was painfully obvious was that even last year’s Formula 1 car was 20% bigger and wider than his father’s. And we know that this year’s cars are even a foot bigger. Perhaps the answer in Formula One all around the globe is to make the cars actually the size of cars not the size of enlarged monsters.

photogcw

Memo to LH: that track is not going to change just for you or anyone else. However, it’s time to realize that F1 has simply outgrown the venue and leave it behind to memories and history. Let it become an event like Goodwood where vintage F1 cars can run on its streets in cooperation with the teams as an in-season festival. Has anyone suggested of running the race in nearby Nice? I suppose one could propose the teams build a smaller dimension one-off F1 runner specifically for Monaco but the costs would be at issue.

Sod’s Law

At Monaco the cars have surpassed the track. Technology has shallowed the apexes and shorted the straights. Drivers simply cannot get the performance built into today’s cars out of today’s cars at Monaco. It would somehow seem blasphemous to significantly change the track, although getting rid of the Nouvelle Chicane may not be a bad thing.

ShocksAndAwe

Agreed, in part. The braking performance of the cars has neutralized the one consistent passing opportunity – the Nouvelle Chicane. Getting rid of it wouldn’t actually help, especially since it was a pure safety play – the original left/right flick “harbor chicane” was just too dangerous — just ask Ascari.

Broderick1

Monaco is an event of two halves for me. I love Quali but hate the actual Race. Thank heavens for Indy on the same day. I still come away satisfied on the weekend. Monaco should just be a two day time trial stage before we get to the next race. Quali laps on hypers for two days. Whoever has the best combined time earns the most points. I have not missed Quali in Monaco but have often missed races. Didn’t bother me, at all. P.S. – To Negative Camber, I am enjoying your site and the podcast but don’t enjoy… Read more »

subcritical71

@Broderick1: Maybe I can help. You need to register for a WordPress account. If your viewing from a desktop computer, load ‘theparcferme.com, scroll all the way down on the right hand side and click ‘Register’. On Safari, once I log in to the WordPress account it keeps me logged in for days/weeks/…

Broderick1

 subcritical71

Thanks.

jakobusvdl

I agree Monaco qualification is the most exciting part, and a time attack shoot out event around the circuit in F1 cars would be stunning.
Maybe Liberty Media would be open to mixing the season up with different ‘race types’, time-attacks, sprint races, enduro’s, etc.
Though I’m not sure mixing things up like that would be accepted by the teams as an alternative to series of Grand Prix races.

Broderick1

Tour De France is one of the most historic events in sports and one or two of the stages is a time trial and fans still turn out in droves.

Monaco, with today’s cars, is boring. I guarantee you, Liberty, as clueless and out of touch as they are, are going to listen to the twitter and instagram crowd. Just look what they used to justify eliminating the grid girls.

I doubt anything will happen though. This is Monaco, after all. Probably the most iconic race in motorsports. There will be protests and outcry.

Richard L Bunce

On IndyCar, they will likely tweak the superspeedway aero package in the off season… if not by Pocono. The road/street/short oval aero package is closer to right already. Monaco is adding land down by Portier… extending straight leading into Mirabeau would eliminate Mirabeau, Loews, and Portier… then bring it back down into tunnel at some point. Likely the new land reclaimed from the harbor is all spoken for but perhaps they laid out the streets there with this in mind. Would not miss Loews as too many cars taken out there in my time watching for no added benefit and… Read more »

rbunce

Markelov in F2 Race 2 seemed to not have so much of a problem passing cars at Monaco. Norris could not get around Fuoco although he seemed to have the faster car.

rbunce

Artists rendition of new land… the entrance to tunnel in upper middle of photo… new development to left of it. Does not seem to be obvious path from Mirabeau to extend further out then back around and into tunnel…but tall buildings blocking street views.
comment image?imwidth=1400

rbunce
rbunce

Here it is… maybe if they reduce speed into the tunnel they can get rid of chicane after the tunnel?

“The most exciting development is for the racing fraternity of Formula One, utilizing the new land to create a new section of track, leading from the downhill Portier to a new section with wide road and a tight hairpin, creating an overtaking spot. The track would then rejoin the original circuit just before the tunnel, thus cutting the speed at which cars go through and reducing the dangers of the confined area.”

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jimdobson/2015/06/25/the-future-of-monaco-man-made-island-and-floating-formula-one-race-track/#283dc6ec634c

Fast Freddy

If the race was boring, it was because tires were being worn out. I’d also point out that Verstappen was able to pass cars, OK he is in the best car during the weekend. If you want gimmicks, check out hte BTCC, short races, weight penalties and lots of banging around. Really it’s pretty exciting.

jiji the cat

just change the bloomin’ cars, aaaaaaaaarrrrrggggggghhhhhhh!
They are crap on just about every circuit ’cause they cant follow.

And while your at it, change the freakin tyres, no more hi deg, and bring in another manufacturer, we need a tyre war.

There. Problem solved for all circuits.

jakobusvdl

Because every other time the regulations have changed, and there were multiple tyre suppliers the racing was just awesome?
Nice thought, but I don’t think it stacks up.

jiji the cat

well yes. just about every era we have had a tyre war we have had epic battles, epic races.

sunny stivala

What we actually had when there was more then one tyre supplier was tyre war with un-balanced races which are termed as epic by some.

jakobusvdl

Again, a nice thought, but if you check back on the history I’m not sure where those epic battles and races occured.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Formula_One_tyres
It looks like, apart from pre-70’s, typically when there were multiple tyre suppliers, one supplier dominated, and if you weren’t the lead team with that supplier, you weren’t winning races.

jiji the cat

the stats dont show the true picture. just like the stats for Alonso. Wins by 1 manufacturer over another does not mean we did not have epic battles and races. Go back through the archives and look at the races.

jakobusvdl

Epic battles and races have occurred throughout the history of F1, sporadically at the front, but more consistently through he field.
I’ve been watching F1 (on and off) for a few decades, and I’m pretty sure that periods of multiple tyre suppliers didn’t standout as delivering particularly close racing, but if you can show such a link, I’m keen to hear more.

sunny stivala

Some guy has posted on reddit possible changes to track layout to improve the racing: variant 1 and variant 2. are shown.

Rapierman

Got a link?

sunny stivala

As stated, I have seen both variants as shown.

sunny stivala

Thanks for the down vote.

sunny stivala

“How to change the track layout to improve the racing at Monaco”

jakobusvdl

Hey Sunny, are you being blocked on TPF?
I get an email that you’ve responded, but the posts (yours and mine) aren’t visible on the TPF page.
Reply with your email, and I should be able to see that on the response email, and we can catch up from there.
All the best Jako

S Stivala

Yes I have been blogged as requested by about 2-3 people.

jakobusvdl

Hi Sunny, I’ve asked NC to pass my email address on to you directly.
Cheer Jako

S Stivala

Thanks JAKO, He (NC did just that.

Mike

TYRES!!! This is what needs to change, get off my lawn!! lol Okay, the talk of resurfacing tracks is insane. Changing aero? That means a complete car redesign, = cost too. Why are not people talking about tires? First off, the OZ wheels are already spec, castings and hub/axle connections standard. So with HD tires, we are talking about the compound, right? What…are the special Pirelli compound cords rolled on the virgin thighs of Athenian gridgirls? The tire molds are already created…we are only talking about a HD compound change, its akin to ‘gee, lets make his footprint better, so… Read more »

sunny stivala

Somebody in the know (paddock) said to Martin Brundle “There is no point in trying to analyse any race or upgrade, it is simply about who is generating the right tyre temperatures at any given point”. Keeping the tyres in the “window” is the big part of performance this year. easily half a second per lap difference. There is a major tyre factor in this year’s performance driven by F1 politics.

ShocksAndAwe

I’m starting to think more and more that the brakes are the bigger issue. The braking zones are so short now, that even if you brake later than everyone else, it only gives you a meter or two advantage — not enough to make a difference.

Well, really it’s a combination of aero, tires, track design, brakes and everything else, but brakes take a higher percentage for me now than they used to…

sunny stivala

I have never missed a race no matter the time differences since I started following the sports and that is a very long time ago, before the advent of TV it was BBC radio out here, after that and for a long time it was 8mm film reals first black and with silent and then super 8mm color and sound always at that time courtesy of BP. This year’s Monaco race was one of the worst I can ever remember, there was something really bad this time which I do not remember the like, three days past the race and… Read more »

jiji the cat

yeah there was, the tyres. Vettel and Hamster were nursing their tyres to get to the end. Couldn’t push. Stupid really when the arguably, best drivers in the world in the arguably, most advanced race cars in the world can’t push because the tyres are sub par to the series. I do not blame Pirelli as they are doing what has been requested of them, but seriously, somet