Zandvoort’s ‘mega change’ a template for Monaco evolution

Henry Valantine
The Monaco Grand Prix F1 skyline. April 2022.

A view above the pit lane along the harbour in Monte Carlo.

Alfa Romeo team principal Frederic Vasseur believes that the “show” at the Dutch Grand Prix provided a template for the direction other events will take in the future, including Monaco, to evolve with the times.

Drivers and teams have been weighing in on the future of Monaco on the calendar recently, with the circuit’s contract with Formula 1 coming up for renewal.

Race organisers remain confident that a new deal will be agreed, and the likes of Lewis Hamilton, Daniel Ricciardo and Pierre Gasly have all spoken out in support of the historic venue’s place on the Formula 1 schedule.

But Alfa Romeo team boss Vasseur explained that the sport’s return to Zandvoort last year was an example of how the ‘show’ for the fans at the weekend can be improved, with the crowd almost exclusively supporting Max Verstappen in a sea of orange last September.

The track underwent significant changes and improvements in infrastructure to get itself ready to host a race, and the event was praised for the experience fans had over the course of the weekend as the Netherlands returned to Formula 1.

With that, he thinks that Zandvoort will provide a blueprint for how weekends will look in the future, and the likes of Monaco can learn about how to modernise as a result.

“I think the F1 had a big change last year in Zandvoort,” Vasseur said. “Not just in terms of show. In terms of the show Zandvoort was a mega change but from these dates I think all the events were more into this direction and everybody will have to follow the move.

Max Verstappen in front of Dutch fans. Zandvoort September 2021.
Home hero Max Verstappen drives in front of the Dutch crowd. Zandvoort September 2021.

“But in the end, not just the show, but everything else around the Grand Prix. And I think Monaco will have to do the same. For sure Monaco is important for us. We know perfectly that it’s an historical Grand Prix.

“But at the end of the day, it will, it will come from them, I’m sure, because they can’t stay old fashioned. And I’m not just thinking about Monaco. But it’s a good lesson for all Grands Prix.”

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner agreed that Monaco remains on the calendar because of the standing it holds within motorsport as a whole, and echoed Vasseur’s view that changes need to be made to go with the times in Formula 1.

“Yeah, I mean, it’s unimaginable to think of Formula 1 without Monaco, it is the jewel in the crown. But you know, everything does evolve over time. And, you know, when you look at Wimbledon, they now have a roof when it rains.

“So, you know, they’ve got to move as the sport continues to grow. And I think that if Monaco was a new circuit coming on to the calendar now and they said, ‘Well, you’re going to have the lowest fee of every single circuit, you’re going to go there you can’t overtake’ it would never be accepted onto the calendar.


“So we accommodate Monaco because of its heritage and because of its history. That’s it. And I think that you’ve got to evolve.

“If you stand still, then you’re going backwards, and I think that applies to all aspects of the sport.”