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Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix 2024

Why F1 no longer has Thursday practice at the Monaco Grand Prix

It used to be tradition that practice at the Monaco Grand Prix would take place on Thursday, rather than Friday - however that has changed in recent seasons.

Leclerc Monaco
To news overview © XPBimages

The Monaco Grand Prix is one of the most famous events in the world of motorsport, with the streets of Monte Carlo hosting the eighth round of the 2024 Formula 1 world championship this weekend.

Very few changes have been made to the track layout since its debut on the calendar more than 70 years ago.

However, a major change to the weekend format in recent years has been moving away from practice on a Thursday.

But why is this?

Ascension Day

The Monaco Grand Prix traditionally falls at the same time as the Monégasque Ascension Day bank holiday.

On Friday, the roads would reopen in Monaco after the Thursday bank holiday to allow traffic to pass through and local businesses to restock their supplies ahead of the race weekend.

The holiday takes place 40 days after Easter Sunday - meaning this year's bank holiday was earlier in May.

F1 took the decision to remove the break day in 2022 and revert to a more familiar three-day weekend schedule, with F1's on-track action beginning on Friday.

Why F1 changed the schedule

Recent seasons have seen an increase in the amount of races that have been held each year, with the current schedule set for 24 grand prix.

Monaco also plays host to a double-header as it immediately follows the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, which was won by Red Bull and Max Verstappen.

The more aggressive schedule in recent seasons has placed increased strain on the travelling members of the paddock, with the extra day before on-track action beginning providing vital time to set up for the weekend.

If F1 had kept its Thursday practice slot for Monaco, media day would have been held on Wednesday - giving teams just two days to leave Imola and set up shop at Monaco.

Taking the Friday break away gives the travelling circus some time to recover during what is already a hectic schedule. 

As such, it is unlikely that the Thursday practice sessions will return anytime soon.

Also interesting:

In the latest episode of the RacingNews365.com podcast, Ian Parkes, Samuel Coop and Nick Golding look back at this weekend's Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, where Max Verstappen and Lando Norris went head-to-head for the victory around the famous Imola Circuit as McLaren continue to pile the pressure on Red Bull!

Rather watch than listen to the podcast? Click here.

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