Mercedes boss hints at changes ahead for survival of Monaco race

·2-min read

Mercedes team chief Toto Wolff on Sunday hinted at what may be needed for the under-threat Monaco Grand Prix to retain its place on the Formula One race calendar.

As the race promoters seek to extend the event’s contract in negotiations with the commercial rights holder Liberty Media, Wolff commented that Sunday’s rain and crash-hit event “felt more like an NFL game” because it lasted so long.

"That was the usual chaotic race in Monaco," said Wolff, in a team statement after Mercedes drivers George Russell and seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton finished fifth and eighth.

"And, once again, a lesson that we need to look at this circuit’s layout so that people can’t drive around five seconds off the pace in a procession.

"This is a fantastic venue and spectacle, but it would be great if the racing could be at the same level.

"With the length of the race and the delays and interruptions, it felt more like an NFL game than a Grand Prix.

"But I’m not sure that much more could have been done."

He added that the race directors had been correct to delay the start by an hour due to torrential rain.

"We need to give the race directors credit for managing a difficult situation. The rain was torrential, then there was an issue with the connectivity for the TV broadcast, which meant we couldn’t get going."

The circuit layout’s restricted overtaking opportunities, local management of the main broadcast feed for the event and control of circuit advertising and sponsorship are reported to be among the most vexed issues in the talks.

"I'm biased. I live here, I love it and what Monaco has to offer is spectacular," Wolff said on Saturday.

"F1 is important for Monaco and Monaco is important for F1, but it needs a positive approach from both parties.

"Monaco has to embrace the new realities of what the sport stands for today and the impact it has on the world.

"And at the same time, Monaco will always be respected within F1 as something which is special. No one should take things for granted. If we didn't race in Monaco, it would be a shame from my perspective as a team owner."

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