My masterplan to make ‘boring’ Monaco interesting again

Charles Leclerc leads in Monaco/My masterplan to make 'boring' Monaco interesting again

Drivers love Monaco because in qualifying it is the biggest challenge of the season. But it is impossible to disagree with Max Verstappen’s conclusion that Sunday’s race was “boring”.

We can address this, however. When the regulations for the cars change in 2026, Monaco should be considered as a priority. Everything you do to help overtaking there will effectively help overtaking everywhere.

Monaco has for many years been very difficult, sometimes a bit boring, especially as the cars have grown. The cars were huge back in the 1980s. They reduced in size for a bit, but now they have overgrown Monaco both in size and performance.

Monaco has such traditions around it so it needs to stay on the calendar and we have to prioritise solutions both within the car and also the circuit. Those changes in Monaco itself could take a little bit longer but are not impossible. I proposed a couple of years ago how all the building work being planned should be considered as an opportunity. Where they are creating land to put buildings on, there would be nothing wrong with saying the road layout must be designed as an extension for the racetrack, then the buildings go up around that road structure.

Increase overtaking opportunities

Where you currently come down from the hairpin and turn right into the tunnel, the city is reclaiming land there to the left. There should be an opportunity to turn left there, go for 200/300 meters and have another hairpin, basically a roundabout down there which has the potential to give an overtaking spot. The drivers would then come back up again and go straight on into the tunnel which would be a bit faster. It would probably only be an extra 500 metres in total but it would be something that would give you an opportunity if it was laid out correctly. That would be my only tweak to the circuit. The rest of it is very demanding and its traditions should be protected. It can be a good race.

Anderson proposes changes to the track layout after the current hairpin and before the right-turn for the tunnel
Anderson proposes changes to the track layout after the current hairpin and before the right-turn for the tunnel - Getty Images/Ryan Pierse

Qualifying, let’s remember, was mega. Watching the cars on one lap at high speed is absolutely brilliant. But what we saw was a race that ran eight to 10 seconds off the qualifying lap time so it was probably three or four seconds off potential race lap times.

Update tyre usage rule

The teams take the approach that ‘track position is everything and the hard tyre does the whole race without ever thinking about it’.

The powers-that-be should respond immediately with simple tweaks, one of which would be to introduce a rule ensuring all three tyre compounds are used for a certain percentage of the race - a 10 per cent minimum perhaps. In Monaco, rounded up you’d have to do eight laps on each component minimum. You’re committed to it for a certain period and that will introduce more risk-taking.

I would also bring in a rule at all races ensuring that when there is a red flag, teams can only replace tyres with the same compound when they are in the pits waiting for the restart. We shouldn’t see ‘jump the compound’ situations like those used on Sunday. If you started on medium tyres as the first four cars did before the red flag on lap one, you have to put mediums back on again. With Monaco there’s always a very good chance of a safety car or red flag. Teams should not be able to play out their pit strategy during that period as it can scupper the race.

On Sunday, Carlos Sainz was able to address his first-lap tyre issue when the race was red-flagged after Perez's crash
On Sunday, Carlos Sainz was able to address his first-lap tyre issue when the race was red-flagged after Perez's crash - Reuters/Claudia Greco

Change the car design

Perhaps most pressing, however, is the car. For 2026, there’s a complete rewrite of the regulations and perhaps we should be considering how we tackle DRS, which has become relied upon too much at other circuits. Over the years, it’s taken away the drivers’ potential for an overtaking maneuver or the potential for being good at overtaking at normal circuits, with DRS they just wait on that opportunity.

Then, if you are decent at non DRS overtaking, you might just carry that through into Monaco, where DRS is not powerful enough on the pit straight alone. Personally I don’t like DRS, it’s artificial. Drivers should be capable of overtaking themselves somehow.

We should also be considering scaling down the cars which have outgrown Monaco. The size of the car, the weight of the car, the size and width of the tyres. And then little things, like the width of the front wing being the same width as the front tyres. The driver doesn’t see that front wing. He can’t see that at all. So it needs to be a bit narrower than the front wheels, they can then see and place the front wheel correctly without worrying about the front wing being damaged.

If the front wing is 10cm narrower than the outside of the front tyre, the risk of knocking it off is reduced dramatically so there would be more opportunity to take a bit of a go at somebody.

That’s what Max Verstappen was saying. You want to hang it out there. The way the drivers took on the circuit on the hard tyres was undeniably boring.

There’s a lot that can be done. I think it needs some logical thinking. I don’t think we’ll ever make Monaco an overtaking-fest and I don’t think we want that but we need to open up the opportunity to make sure the fastest and best drivers win.

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