Five reasons why the Monaco GP should stay on the F1 calendar

Formula 1's most glamorous, iconic race could be in danger of being lost from the calendar, at least on an annual basis - but could that move be truly justified?

The Monaco Grand Prix is viewed increasingly as an anachronism by those who see it as nothing more than a Sunday procession around the streets of Monte Carlo devoid of overtaking, with the only meaningful action having occurred in qualifying.

However, there are several reasons why Monaco should stay on the schedule. Okay, we get why perhaps not staging it every year could make sense, perhaps on a biennial basis instead, but it should certainly not be lost altogether. Planet Sport discusses why…

Monaco is an integral part of F1's history

Monaco GP

You have to move with the times and not cling on to the past in life, that is true to a large extent. But the Monaco Grand Prix is not a dinosaur that should be consigned to extinction.

Is it right to just sweep away all the old circuits that originally launched Formula 1?

In 1950, Monaco formed part of the first World Championship which comprised seven races, four of the others being Silverstone, Indianapolis, Spa-Francorchamps and Monza. The other two, Bremgarten and Reims-Gueux, were closed down a very long time ago.

It would be unthinkable for Silverstone and Monza to be struck from the calendar. Spa, like Monaco, is under pressure. Both are struggling to meet the modern demands of F1, but would anyone really want to see Spa disappear? No, because it always produces superb racing.

Europe has always been this sport's heartland. In recent years, there has been a growing focus on other continents such as America and Asia, plus the Middle East. By no means all of the new races generate a real identity of their own - something which has always been part of F1's appeal.

In contrast, nobody can deny that is true of Monaco. It is unique, instantly recognisable and the most famous race in Formula 1. It's the sport's Wembley, Lord's, Wimbledon or St Andrews, and F1 would be unthinkable without it.

Monaco presents a special kind of challenge

When crowning a World Champion, you want to know that driver has conquered everything put in front of them and overcome all kinds of different obstacles.

Monaco takes its competitors to places, mentally and physically, they do not venture into elsewhere. It's 78 laps, potentially two hours, of the most intense concentration, knowing the slightest mistake can mean a race-ending brush with the barrier.

Thus very different to a new circuit with wide expanses of run-off areas where you can be back on track, literally and metaphorically, in a couple of seconds.

You may have seen the mesmerising onboard footage of Ayrton Senna's astonishing qualifying lap in 1988. The challenge is no different now, as the circuit remains the same.

This is where F1 drivers really earn their megabucks salaries. Long may they continue to do so.

Monaco Grands Prix can be dramatic

It's not as though this race never has the potential to be a thriller. There have been many unforgettable editions down the years, including the first one I can remember watching - 1982 when Murray Walker described it as "certainly the most eventful, exciting, momentous grand prix I have ever seen" in his BBC TV commentary.

In all honesty, none of the recent renewals have threatened to be regarded so highly, with the sheer size of the cars these days making overtaking ever more difficult on such a narrow track.

But Monaco is the sort of place that is transformed, in every sense, by rain.

Strategy, especially in variable conditions, then becomes of paramount importance and has played a key part in deciding the outcome - never more so than in Olivier Panis' only F1 victory.

It may not be what the fun-loving socialites on the party yachts in the harbour want, but a rainy Monaco can sure offer plenty of excitement.

Monaco is very easy on the eye

Forgive us for focusing on the aesthetics for a minute, but if you like a bit of scenery when watching F1 then Monaco is for you.

We are not just talking about the surroundings. The track itself boasts more intriguing features than other street circuits - Casino Square, the hotel hairpin, the tunnel, the swimming pool complex, La Rascasse.

It's a circuit for which it is easy to visualise an entire lap in your mind - although you could argue that is not too difficult given a race consists of 78 of them, taking only a minute-and-a-quarter each to drive.

Some circuits are distinctly on the bland side and even non-F1 fans find themselves enthralled by what Monaco has to offer - and probably even wishing they were there.

Monaco is loved by the drivers

Now, this is probably the most important point - and why shouldn't it be, considering there would be no grand prix without the drivers.

It was particularly telling that several racers extolled the virtues of Monaco in a press conference at the Miami Grand Prix three weeks before arriving in the Principality - with the glittering new race in Florida having been touted as a possible successor for the status of F1's crown jewel.

"I love Monaco," said Haas' Kevin Magnussen, while Esteban Ocon of Alpine added: "I think Monaco is extremely special. It has the history behind it and it's one way to race that you don't have anywhere else."

But perhaps the most salient comment that day came from Max Verstappen, the reigning World Champion. "I don't think you can replace Monaco," said the Dutchman.

Hear hear, Max. Hear hear.

Read more: The longest waits for a first win in F1 history - Perez, Barrichello, Button and more

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