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Monaco Grand Prix 2023

Why F1 stopped Thursday practice at the Monaco Grand Prix

Until last year, the first and second practice sessions were held on Thursday with a day's break on Friday. Here's why it all changed.

Verstappen Monaco
To news overview © Red Bull Contentpool/Getty Images

Formula 1 returns to the streets of Monaco for its crown jewel event this weekend following an enforced break due to the cancellation of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix last weekend.

Until changes made last year, drivers would have tackled the challenging twists and turns of the principality on Thursday before taking a day off on Friday.

That tradition is no more, with the common Friday-Saturday-Sunday schedule firmly in place. So what changed?

Ascension Day

The Monaco Grand Prix traditionally coincides with the Monégasque Ascension Day bank holiday.

The holiday falls on the Friday of the event so F1 has historically paused operation to mark the day, allowing local traffic to pass through the principality's streets with relative ease, whilst local businesses were able to use the break to restock before what would be a hectic weekend period.

But for 2022, F1 took the decision to remove the break day and revert to a more familiar three-day weekend schedule.

Why F1 changed the schedule

In recent years, F1 has played host to an increasing number of races and would have visited a record-breaking 24 venues this year had China and Imola remained on the calendar.

The aggressive scheduling dictates the need for double and triple-headers, placing immense strain on personnel throughout the paddock.

For example, should the traditional Monaco schedule had been used this year with Imola not being cancelled, then driver media sessions would have been held on Wednesday and give personnel just two days from race end to weekend start. This is entirely unsustainable.

Last year's race was the second leg in a double-header with Spain - an event that marked only the third time in F1 history the Monaco Grand Prix had followed another race directly [after 2010 and 2011].

Taking the Friday break away gives the travelling circus some respite during what is already a gruelling schedule. Don't expect the Thursday practice sessions to return.

F1 2023 Monaco Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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