Liberty Media considering dropping Monaco Grand Prix
Former Formula 1 World Champion Damon Hill has defended the Monaco Grand Prix, stating that while it may not always produce exciting races for spectators, it remains the ultimate test for drivers. Hill emphasized that understanding the true essence of Monaco requires recognizing the technical difficulty, courage, and concentration required to tackle the iconic street circuit.
Hill’s comments came in response to recent discussions about the Monaco Grand Prix’s place on the Formula 1 calendar. Some have criticized the race for its lack of overtaking opportunities and perceived dullness in comparison to other circuits. However, Hill argues that these criticisms miss the point of Monaco’s unique challenge.
“Liberty are no fools,” Hill remarked, referring to Formula 1’s commercial rights holder. “They know very well what Monaco brings to the party. It is incredibly glamorous. It is in the South of France. You can watch it from your own yacht. It has a long and very important association with Formula 1. It is where many of the drivers live. They get all that. In fact, the Netflix ‘Drive to Survive’ marketing-led Liberty executives probably get it better than Bernie Ecclestone ever did.”
However, Hill acknowledged that Liberty Media’s focus on attracting new fans since the launch of the popular Netflix series has made them prioritize exciting races. This has led to questions about whether Monaco, with its limited overtaking opportunities, can meet those expectations.
“But the one thing they don’t like is a boring race. And this is Monaco’s weak suit,” Hill continued. “Fans do not like this. And when I say fans, I mostly mean new ones who have joined since Netflix. And that means Liberty does not like it. Because, why watch a race where nothing happens?”
While understanding the desire for exciting races, Hill believes that overlooking the unique challenges of Monaco is a mistake. He argues that the race’s true essence lies in the supreme test it presents to drivers.
“Well, I get that. I do. But I would argue — and I accept that this is quite a personal viewpoint — that that is to miss the point entirely of Monaco,” Hill explained. “To a racing driver, Monaco is quite simply the ultimate test. It’s between you, your car, and the track. It is the most technically difficult, courage-invoking, concentration-sapping, eye-widening roller coaster ride in our sport. Yes, the race is sometimes boring to watch on a Sunday, but that is because the real race is on a Saturday.”
Hill’s perspective highlights the contrasting viewpoints surrounding the Monaco Grand Prix. While some criticize it for the lack of overtaking and the potential for processional races, others recognize its significance as a true driver’s challenge. Ultimately, the debate over Monaco’s place in Formula 1 continues, with differing opinions on its value and entertainment value for fans.