Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc has advised Formula 1 not to consider ditching the Monaco Grand Prix amid intense speculation around its future on the calendar.
From next season, there will be three races held in the United States when Vegas is re-introduced to the calendar, and this is part of the sport’s ambitious growth plans.
Interest has been revamped in a possible return to South Africa in 2024, while the impact of the Drive to Survive series on the sport, as well as last season’s magnificent title battle between Max Verstappen and Sir Lewis Hamilton, has cultivated a desire for F1 to cater to more global markets.
F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali previously suggested that there is a chance that the pinnacle of motorsport might end up with an astounding 30 races on the calendar.
“I think there is potential to go to 24 [races],” he told Sky Sports.
“I would say there is potential to go to 30. In terms of the interest we see all around the world. It is up to us to try to find the right balance considering what are the venues which would like to be in F1, what are the historical values we need to see on the calendar.
“We need to be balanced, we need to see what are the other opportunities. And very soon we are going to tell everyone what is our strategy to develop that market.”
The perennial evolution of the F1 world has however jeopardised the future of some of the greatest and most iconic races in the sport’s history.
Monaco and Spa Francorchamps – very much founding venues of the world championship we know today – are out of contract this year along with Austria, Mexico and France.
Moving the sport to more of a United States base could be detrimental to the chances of those circuits’ chances of appearing on the calendar for years to come, and Daniel Ricciardo has recently pleaded with the powers that be to avoid losing its “core” venues.
Leclerc, a Monegasque himself, would be aggrieved if the infamous streets of Monaco were to disappear from the pinnacle of motorsport.
“It would be a pity and wrong not to have a World Championship race in Monaco anymore,” he said, quoted by Speedweek.com.
Depending on which race replaces the cancelled Russian Grand Prix this season, there is a possibility that 12 of the 23 races this year will be held outside of Europe, but this would not be much different to how the calendar has looked in years gone by.
10 years ago in 2012, for example, 12 of the 20 races were held elsewhere, and there was still plenty of room for magnificent racetracks like Monaco, Spa, Silverstone and Monza.
So while the economic ramifications might be a little different now compared with years gone by, more races elsewhere does not necessarily have to mean the abolishment of established and historic venues, but the seeming lack of any contractual negotiations is a concerning one for fans of old-school, iconic and infamous circuits.