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Formula 1 Monaco GP

Horner: Monaco F1 track must be adapted for "long-term viability"

The Monaco Grand Prix circuit layout must be adapted for the venue’s “long-term viability” since overtakes are currently “virtually impossible”, says Red Bull Formula 1 team boss Christian Horner.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19

First held in 1929, the famous street race has made efforts to modernise via the construction of a new pit facility while for 2023, it has notably relinquished control of its oft-maligned TV broadcast production and handed over sponsorship and advertising after past conflicts with F1’s own partners.

However, the circuit layout has largely remained unchanged. This has left the emphasis to shift to qualifying since overtaking is at a premium, particularly with the growth in F1 car size since 2017.

With Monaco now facing stiffer competition to remain on a packed F1 calendar against new and potentially lucrative deals for Liberty Media with Las Vegas, Miami and Qatar, there are increased calls from the paddock for the principality circuit to change to boost overtaking to future-proof itself.

Red Bull boss Horner reckoned a Monaco race would never be considered seriously should it be proposed for modern-day F1 but that its historic value meant it should remain on the schedule even if overtaking is “virtually impossible”.

He said: “It's a unique event. If anybody came up with this track now and presented it, there's no way we'd race here.

“We race here because it's Monaco, because of the history, the legacy, the backdrop, everything, the glamour.

“Monaco is a crucially important part of the grand prix calendar and a hugely valuable one. It's always exciting to come to this venue.

“The same points apply to all races, but some just have that extra value attached to them and certainly Monaco has that.

 Christian Horner, Red Bull Racing Team Principal

Christian Horner, Red Bull Racing Team Principal

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

“Now, of course, facilities have changed dramatically. When you look at the pits now to compared to where they were 10 years ago, or certainly 20 years ago, everything has improved.

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“The only thing that hasn't changed too much, obviously, is the circuit and the cars are so big now that the prospect of an overtake is virtually impossible under normal running conditions.

“So, not for the immediacy, but for the long-term viability of this venue… nothing stands still forever.

“Everything has to keep evolving. It'd be great to look at what is possible to introduce some genuine overtaking opportunities around the circuit or to adapt the circuit over a period of time.”

Ferrari race director Laurent Mekies, who is poised to join AlphaTauri as team principal, reckoned the famous lap should be left alone, however, for the sake of hanging onto history.

He said: “In terms of layout, personally accepting that overtaking is very difficult and that we only concentrate pretty much on Saturday here, I think it's part of what makes this place unique.

“Personally, I will probably refrain from touching the track layout, also for historical reasons and keeping very high character places like this one.”

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