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Formula 1 Monaco GP

F1 drivers want to revisit red-flag tyre rule that "ruined" Monaco GP

Max Verstappen and Fernando Alonso are among drivers calling for changes to Formula 1's red-flag tyre rules that they feel "ruined" the Monaco Grand Prix.

A marshal waves the red flag after a crash invloving Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing, Kevin Magnussen, Haas F1 Team, and Nico Hulkenberg, Haas F1 Team, on the opening lap

Sunday's 78-lap cruise through the Monaco streets was hamstrung by a heavy first-lap crash involving Sergio Perez and Haas drivers Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg.

Under the resulting red flag, all drivers were allowed to change tyres, negating the need for mandatory pitstops later on.

The rule stops disadvantaging drivers who are yet to pit right before a mid-race red flag, but having a lap-one red flag on a circuit like Monaco, where overtaking is almost impossible and where the tyres can last the whole race, has had some unintended side-effects.

Not only did that disadvantage drivers who opted to try something different and start on the hard tyres, forcing them to complete a full race distance on mediums, but it also eliminated any jeopardy that could arise from pitstop execution and strategy in general.

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In Monaco, the polesitter is extremely likely to win, but botched pitstops or strategy calls have cost wins in the past to the likes of Daniel Ricciardo and Charles Leclerc, injecting the chance of some drama into an otherwise lifeless affair.

Across the spectrum drivers lamented that the lap-one red flag killed any sort of strategic plays.

"After the red flag, our strategy was ruined as we had to put the medium on to the end as everyone had a free stop and that meant that we had to save a lot," sixth-placed Verstappen said.

George Russell, Mercedes W15

George Russell, Mercedes W15

Photo by: Erik Junius

"I just tried to follow George and we were so off the pace trying to manage the tyres. That is quite boring out there, driving literally half throttle on the straights in some places."

Fourth-placed finisher Lando Norris agreed with Verstappen, saying: "There's just nothing you can do, especially with the red flag at the beginning, I think that ruined any other opportunities that might have come my way with strategy and tyre-saving, so a bit of a shame."

Even Williams' Alex Albon, who actually benefitted from the free pitstop because he had started on mediums, acknowledged that the current rules didn't make a whole lot of sense.

"Yeah, we need to figure out what's going on. I think that if it's a lap-one red flag, still have a mandatory pitstop in there or something. It worked in our favour to be fair to you, so I won't complain too much..."

Alex Albon, Williams FW46

Alex Albon, Williams FW46

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

At the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Norris had already slated what he called "possibly the worst rule ever invented" after he had pitted under the safety car, right before the race was red-flagged for an incident. That made him drop from sixth to 14th while watching everyone ahead of him get a free stop.

Aston Martin driver Alonso hoped Sunday would bring the issue back on the agenda after previous discussions on the rule didn't amount to anything.

"The only point of interest in a Monaco race is the pitstops that you have to do," he said. "If you remove that excitement of a pitstop, then it becomes nothing.

"Maybe it reopens the conversations of when there is a red flag, not changing tyres or being obliged to have the same tyre or something, because if not, there are certain occasions that the race is compromised."

When asked by Motorsport.com if he was hopeful the rule would be revisited this time, he snapped back:  "I don't know. There are many things that they have not changed, probably because they don't listen to the drivers."

Watch: F1 2024 Monaco GP Review – Leclerc Finally Breaks the Curse

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