What we learned from the 2024 Monaco Grand Prix

Sergio Perez, Kevin Magnussen and the FIA are all big topics of discussion after a processionary 2024 Monaco Grand Prix

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The 2024 Monaco Grand Prix may not have served up a classic, but it wasn’t short on storylines as Charles Leclerc became the first Monegasque to ever win a Formula 1 World Championship race held there, so as usual, Total-Motorsport.com dissects the race to discover what we learned in Monte Carlo…

It was a standard day at the office for Leclerc’s side of the Ferrari garage as he led from pole to the flag whilst maintaining a gap to fifth-placed George Russell to make sure the three drivers chasing him could not take a second pit stop for new tyres.

In doing so, he became the first person from his nation to win at the Circuit de Monaco since Louis Chiron back in 1931 and claimed his first victory since the 2022 Austrian GP as he, and Fred Vasseur’s Italian team, announced their arrival to the 2024 F1 title fight.

But what else happened during the 78-lap by the Mediterranean Sea?

Sergio Perez will cost Red Bull the constructors’ championship

It wasn’t an easy weekend for Red Bull as they headed to the twisty and bumpy Monaco GP knowing that it would be a limitation for their car, but that doesn’t excuse the dismal performance offered by Sergio Perez.

When it came to delivering a lap in qualifying, the Mexican couldn’t even find his way into Q2, as he was dumped out of the session by placing 18th, half a second of the fastest time in the opening round.

Sergio Perez’s Red Bull car in pieces after opening lap 2024 Monaco GP crash | Formula 1
Sergio Perez’s Red Bull car in pieces after opening lap 2024 Monaco GP crash | Formula 1

Out-qualified by Logan Sargeant, who holds a better record against Perez than he does against his own teammate, the 2022 Monaco GP winner found himself 0.350 off Max Verstappen meaning that he was out of the running for points as far as it went.

That left Red Bull exposed in the constructors’ championship, as the defending champions saw their lead over Ferrari sliced to 24 points practically before lights out, but Perez wasn’t done there. On the opening lap of the race, he got tangled up fighting a Haas and destroyed his car.

According to Christian Horner, the damage is in the millions and it could cost them some wind tunnel team as Ferrari, McLaren and even Mercedes threaten to close in as far as the developmental arms race is concerned.

Perez costing Red Bull the constructors’ championship has been on the cards for some time now, notably after he spent 2023 fighting Lewis Hamilton in the standings, but he’s been bailed out by Verstappen’s sensational form.

Now it seems like that will no longer be the case, meaning the signs are all there, 2025 could be one of the greatest seasons in Formula 1 history, if the gap between Red Bull and the field continues to fall as the team struggles with kerbs and bumps on their car.

Kevin Magnussen during 2024 Monaco GP | Haas F1 Team

The FIA will not ban Kevin Magnussen

Despite Kevin Magnussen approaching the necessary amount of penalty points needed to be banned for one F1 race, Monaco made it perfectly clear they have no intention of enforcing that policy if they don’t have to.

The Danish Haas driver was at least 50% to blame for the Lap 1 crash that took himself, Perez and Nico Hulkenberg out of the race and produced an instant red flag but the FIA stewards did not take too long to determine there would be no investigation for the incident.

It’s very, very rare for a driver to get away without an investigation if they take out another colleague who was minding their own business, but that’s what happened in Monte Carlo meaning it’s clear they won’t penalise him unless they absolutely have to.

There is precedent for this attitude too. Last season, Alpine’s Pierre Gasly was in exactly the same predicament whilst racing for AlphaTauri but ‘fortunately’ escaped any further penalties before  the season ended, giving him some respite.

Carlos Sainz in action at the 2024 Monaco GP | Ferrari

Red Flag rules need to be changed

Lap 1 of the Monaco GP saw Carlos Sainz naively attempt to squeeze Oscar Piastri against the barriers, in Monte Carlo of all places, in an incident that left him with a puncture and stuck down an escape road.

But fear not, red flag rules ensured he could start from third and not last as the FIA relied on timing charts to determine the order when the race got going again. This has been an issue in the past too, such as the 2023 Australian GP when Lance Stroll drove straight into the gravel and kept fourth.

Whilst the solution doesn’t seem perfectly obvious, since eyes and human error can be problems too, something has to be done because drivers are getting away with poor race-craft and in a circuit like Monaco, that’s handing them free championship points.

On that front, changing tyres under a red flag. It’s not a great rule anyway but at the 2024 Monaco GP, it killed the race stone dead. The only bit of remote excitement at the front after it was whether Russell would drop far enough behind Lando Norris to allow the McLaren to stop for a second time.

It makes races simply too much of a procession to be worth keeping as a rule and removes the strategic risk versus reward dilemma for the remainer of a race, which is exactly what happened at Monaco as everyone knew they could drive seconds off the pace and manage their tyres knowing they wouldn’t be overtaken.

Valtteri Bottas leads Daniel Ricciardo of RB during 2024 Monaco Grand Prix | Sauber

Monaco needs something else

The red flag rules and tyre problem leads into this anyway, but Monaco desperately needs something to make the races exciting since F1 cannot simply slice the length, width and weight of the cars down to make it entertaining.

But what? Could it be a mandatory two-stop race? A new layout? To use all of the tyre compounds? Maybe even one-off ultra-high degradation tyres?

Even the drivers are beginning to tire of the single file racing that the glamorous event offers. Verstappen regularly complained about how bored he was, whilst Hamilton even alluded to F1 trying to do something to make it different.

Brandon Sutton
Brandon is an alumni of an NCTJ and BJTC Liverpool John Moores University course, and has been with Total-Motorsport.com for over a year now. He enjoys covering all forms of motorsport but particularly focuses on Formula 1, and Brandon loves to debate various topics of the sport and other interests, especially if that topic doesn't have an open/shut answer such as the GOAT debate.
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