Why has F1 ditched its traditional Thursday practice for 2022 in Monaco?

Why has F1 ditched its traditional Thursday practice for 2022 in Monaco?

26 May - 17:39 Last update: 19:42

The Monaco Grand Prix weekend schedule used to be unique. Up until this year, Formula 1 has always held its practice sessions on Thursday rather than Friday which is the case at every other race around the world. Why has Formula 1 decided to end this traditional Thursday practice in Monaco? 

The Monaco Grand Prix weekend

Although it might not produce the most exciting Formula 1 race, the Monaco Grand Prix is one of the most sought after events on the schedule. It's a traditional jewel in Formula 1's crown that continues to be part of motorsport history. It was on the schedule during the first Formula 1 season in 1950 and has taken place most years. A long streak of consecutive races was ended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

F1 returned in 2021 but kept the traditional Thursday practice. The reason why Formula 1 used to run on Thursday was because of Ascension Day. A national bank holiday in Monaco. With everyone off work, it was decided that F1 would need some engine silence to allow the locals to move around through the streets. 

Why change it? 

Ascension Day remains in place, but over recent years fewer people celebrate it so it became less of an issue. In 2022, a raft of changes have also taken place to the Formula 1 schedule. It used to be the case that the press conference for each weekend took place on the day before on-track action. Because of the high volume of races, it was decided that Thursday (or Wednesday in Monaco) press conferences would end. Instead, the press conferences now take place on Friday freeing up an extra day. 

In September 2021, F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali said: "Monaco will become a three-day event with immediate effect," in a conversation with CNN. "That means on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, instead of Thursday followed by a break and the rest of the weekend." F1 seem to have decided to cut down the number of days required to complete a race weekend to ease the schedule that was coming under more and more strain. It also helped the logistics team take all the equipment from Barcelona to Monaco. 

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