Pierre Gasly has said he would be mortified to see the Monaco Grand Prix fall off the calendar, describing the race as an “iconic” event.
Monaco has hosted 69 championship grand prix in its illustrious history within the pinnacle of motorsport, and it has on eight occasions been won by a Frenchman – the closest the principality has had to a home winner.
Monegasque Charles Leclerc will be aiming to change that this season, but his fortune at his home race since 2018 does not bode well, and 2022 may end up being his last opportunity.
This is because there is a very real possibility that Monaco will no longer be on the calendar next year after it ran out of contract in 2021 but secured a one-year deal for this season.
It may end up being crowded out by the presence of three races in the United States, as well as the inevitable return to South Africa and China, and Gasly emphasises that the endearment of Monaco lies in the fact that it transcends racing.
“That would be a bit of a shocker if Monaco gets taken out of the calendar. It’s probably the most iconic race in the world,” he said.
“Talking to non-F1 fans, everyone had heard about Monaco for various reasons, whether it’s racing, whether it’s party-related, whether it’s all of the action that happens around the grand prix. It’s a very iconic weekend.
“I think, and I really hope, we get to experience it as drivers because it’s probably the toughest track of the season, the most challenging, and is my favourite one.”
F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali has previously outlined a potential plan to bump the calendar up to 30 races per season. There is currently a limit of 24 though, so there is no guarantee that Belgium, France, Austria and Mexico will be around next year as they are out of contract at the end of this season.
Monaco, France and Belgium essentially all constitute home races for the AlphaTauri driver, and he finds it inconceivable that such historic circuits are in danger of being ousted.
“Obviously to me, I have a very special attachment to these races,” he added.
“My home race (France), and Monaco kind of feels like a home race, then Spa is the closest race from my home town, so I usually have a lot of support there.
“I think they are very iconic tracks, especially Spa and Monaco, they are my two favourite tracks. I think they are part of the history and DNA of Formula 1 and they should be on the calendar every year.”
The Rouen-born racer appreciates that the pinnacle of motorsport wants to start converging on broader global markets, but would like to see races like France, Belgium and Monaco stick around.
“We know F1 nowadays, there are a lot of things involved in how to plan the whole season, so we’ll see what happens. But personally, I really hope we can keep them over the next few years,” he explained.
Gasly’s compatriot and Alpine driver Esteban Ocon said ahead of the Australian Grand Prix that he “will do everything” to keep France on the calendar but, currently, the race at the Circuit Paul Ricard looks the most likely to go.