F1 to produce Monaco Grand Prix broadcast for first time

Formula 1 will produce television coverage of the Monaco Grand Prix for the first time this year, ending the local hosts’ control over the race, Motorsport Broadcasting has learnt.

Previously, the local station Tele Monte Carlo produced coverage of the blue-ribbon event, but now F1 will control the broadcasting aspects of the event, including the World Feed.

This change means that F1 will produce the World Feed for every race during a given season, which is the first time this has happened.

2023 marks the first year of a three-year deal between Formula 1 and the Automobile Club of Monaco (ACM) for the championship to race around the principality.

End of an era for local hosts

In the 1990s, local broadcasters produced Grand Prix events. For example, free-to-air broadcasters ITV, RTL, and Rai produced the British, German, and Italian rounds respectively, with the local hosts placing emphasis on the home drivers.

The quality of the broadcasts varied from week to week. While broadcasters like ITV produced coverage that would fit well with today’s standards, other broadcasters offered inferior coverage.

Simultaneously, F1 developed its in-house capability at Biggin Hill, introducing the F1 Digital+ service in 1996.

The operation provided an enhanced multi-view service, with F1 producing the action during every race weekend, while their free-to-air counterparts offered a limited number of on-board cameras and subpar camera angles in comparison.

Although F1 ended its pay-TV operation after the 2002 season, they learned valuable lessons from the experiment. Recognising the benefits that the pay-TV product brought, the series began to centralise the World Feed production in-house and remove local control.

Viewers at home saw the benefits of the change: the quality of F1’s broadcasts improved across the calendar, ensuring fans received a consistent product regardless of the race weekend.

The transition from local hosts to in-house production took place throughout the 2000s, with the Japanese Grand Prix being the penultimate race to relinquish the local control in 2011, after the arrangement with Fuji Television ended.

However, Monaco has remained the exception over the past decade.

The benefits of F1 taking control of Monaco

In recent years, fans have criticised the broadcast feed produced by Tele Monte Carlo for the Grand Prix.

One notable incident occurred during the 2021 Monaco Grand Prix, when a replay of Lance Stroll running wide at the Swimming Pool complex interrupted a side-by-side battle between Sebastian Vettel and Pierre Gasly up Beau Rivage to Massenet.

While the overall broadcasting quality of Formula 1 has generally improved over the past decade, the quality of the Monaco broadcast has remained stagnant.

An in-depth piece on this site in 2018 highlighted the issues with TMC’s Monaco Grand Prix broadcasts, which continued to persist even in their post-COVID productions.

Fans can expect new and revised angles that will showcase the speed of the cars, in addition to the existing angles that have become a hallmark of the Monaco offering.

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