Monaco Grand Prix to finish incomplete after incident-filled race

F1 preview: A lap of the Monaco Grand Prix

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FIA chiefs have decided they will end the Monaco Grand Prix early after heavy rain and crashes caused severe delays. After a red flag period for a heavy crash, the FIA decided to switch the lap counter for a timed countdown. It means the race will not complete the traditional 78 lap distance.

It’s the first time F1 has decided to run a portion of the race based around time instead of laps since 2017. The reason for the change is down to a rule which says a race can only last for two hours. However, a red flag period should stop the clock.

The race was delayed after heavy rain moments before the start. The FIA decided to allow the cars to run a formation lap around 15 minutes late but the rain then came down heavier. Race directors decided to red flag the race which was not restarted for another 45 minutes. 

When the race did resume, the race pace was a lot slower as drivers battled the changeable conditions. This meant fewer laps could be completed and ensured completing the full race distance would be touch-and-go.

The FIA was then forced to put out another red flag for a heavy accident to the Haas of Mick Schuancher. The German star lost control of his car at turn 14 and smashed into the barrier, splitting his car in half.

This led to another red flag period as marshals attempted to repair the barrier on safety grounds.

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The last time F1 decided to end the race with a timer was at the 2017 Singapore Grand Prix. Three safety car periods also out pressure on the time limit and officials decided to end the race after just 58 of the 61 laps. 

F1 races regularly fail to reach their full limit but this is usually down to issues at the start of the race which see laps knocked off the distance. The last time a race was not completed was the 2021 Belgian Grand Prix when wet weather meant only a handful of laps were completed.

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