F1 preview: A lap of the Monaco Grand Prix
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F1 president Stefano Domenicali has confirmed the Monaco Grand Prix will be amended to a standard three-day format. Most race weekends are held over three days from Friday to Sunday, but traditionally Monaco was different.
The prestigious event usually spans four days, with the first practice day on Thursday and Friday remaining a free day for Formula 1 drivers and their respective teams.
The four-day format became a key part of Monaco’s glitzy reputation within the sport, as parties were famously held on boats in the iconic Port Hercules.
Parties were held on Thursday night, allowing for guests to recover or attend other such events before racing returned on the weekend, with final practice followed by qualifying on the Saturday.
However, the Monte Carlo race will now follow the same format as the rest of the calendar from 2022 in order to allow for flexibility in terms of moving dates and events.
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“Monaco will be three days, straight away,” F1 president Stefano Domenicali told CNN.
“So Friday, Saturday and Sunday instead of Thursday, hold, and then Saturday and Sunday. That’s the change we’re going to introduce next year.”
F1 is reportedly planning a 23-race calendar – the record for most races in a single season – for the highly anticipated 2022 season, with the grid preparing for the sport’s era-defining regulations to come in at the conclusion of this campaign.
Mercedes have dominated the turbo-hybrid era, winning each of the seven championships since the regulations were introduced in 2014.
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The 2021 season was supposed to have 23 grands prix but the impact of the pandemic on travel restrictions cut the season to what will hopefully be 22 races.
Remarkably, this season’s calendar is not exactly finalised after the rescheduled Australian Grand Prix was cancelled, leaving the 19-21 November slot vacant.
Speculation suggests the Melbourne race will be replaced by a trip to Qatar, which would be making its debut on the F1 calendar.
The Australian Grand Prix joins four other races – in China, Canada, Singapore and Japan – that have been cancelled due to the pandemic, but F1 are planning they can all return for next season.
Domenicali also confirmed there had been discussions regarding a return to the calendar for Kyalami in South Africa, which was last included on the schedule in 1993.
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Alain Prost was the winner that year, with Ayrton Senna finishing second.
While a return to South Africa is on the cards, the F1 president revealed he has received requests from other African nations.
Domenicali said: “In this moment, I need to keep it confidential.”
He added that the 2022 calendar would be announced at a meeting of the FIA world motorsport council on October 15.
Formula 1 returns for the Russian Grand Prix in Sochi on September 26, with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen holding a slender five-point lead over seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton.
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