Will Monza remain on the Formula One calendar?

Will Monza remain on the Formula One calendar?Since 1922 when Monza hosted its first ever motor sport race, this iconic track has been a permanent fixture on the Formula 1 calendar. A country with a proud racing pedigree, the Italian Grand Prix is a haven for the Tifosi (the Italian fans) whose dedication and passion for the sport is unrivalled by any other nation in the world.

Mentioned in the same breath as Silverstone and Spa Francorchamps, Monza is a classic, timeless track that has hosted some of F1’s most exciting races. This year did not fail to disappoint, as the opening six laps alone featured a huge series of collisions in the run down to the first corner as well as desperate battle between Vettel, Alonso, Hamilton and Schumacher for the top four positions.

Quite controversially the FIA opted for two DRS zones at Monza, giving each driver the opportunity to enable the Drag Reduction System twice around the circuit in order to aid overtaking. This decision perplexed many pundits including former driver and now F1 commentator David Coulthard, as Monza is one of the fastest tracks of the season, renowned for its overtaking possibilities. Many spectators are critical of this new technology and bemoan the birth of what is being dubbed ‘artificial overtaking’. However, the first six laps of Monza were run before DRS was enabled, proving that at the best tracks all a driver needs is skill and bravery to progress through the field.

As the sport has expanded the paddock has moved to many more locations worldwide, a development that has made F1 a truly global sport. These new circuits are purpose-built, modern venues with impressive architecture that reflects the glamorous nature of the sport. Yet rather disappointingly, the tracks have failed to produce the same impact and have been lacklustre on race days, providing little in the way of overtaking and thus resulting in largely processional races. It could be argued that the creation of the DRS technology was partly a response to this underperformance. After journalists dubbed Bahrain ‘Bore-ain’ for its under whelming start to the 2010 season, it seemed that the new circuits were struggling to provide the adrenaline-fuelled action that F1 fans expect.

So far, the balance between the new and vintage tracks has been relatively even, but now that the calendar has been swelled to an astonishing 20 races a year, the future of many popular fixtures appear to be uncertain. Bernie Ecclestone has publicly announced that, due to logistical issues, there will be no more than twenty races in each season, yet there is still serious talk about bringing Formula 1 to other countries like Russia in upcoming years. In order to incorporate these new tracks other countries will have to be cut from the calendar, a sad truth which has already resulted in the removal of the Turkish Grand Prix from next years season.

Although it is important to develop the sport, is it worth the loss of so many other great tracks in return? As we head into the second half of the season (which is dominated by modern circuits like Singapore as well as the inaugural Indian Grand Prix) the debate over the direction of Formula 1 rages both on and off track.

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