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Why Monaco risks losing it all with F1

Why Monaco risks losing it all with F1

F1 News

Why Monaco risks losing it all with F1

Why Monaco risks losing it all with F1

The future of the Monaco Grand Prix proved to be the dominant topic of the recent weekend.

The question of whether F1 needs Monaco, or does Monaco need F1 was continually debated both in the build-up to the event and across the three days.

The verdict from drivers and team principals was clear, that Monaco is an event, not just a race, and it should remain - for the most part.

From many, though, there was a caveat in that F1 these days is a booming business and it has to go where the money is.

While Monaco retains historical value, its overall financial value to F1 is minimal, and at present, there are many countries waiting in the wings to fill a vacancy should one become available.

Let's take a look at the circumstance as to why Monaco is perilously close to falling off the calendar.

Why all the fuss over the Monaco Grand Prix?

This year's Monaco Grand Prix may have been missing a few Russian oligarchs but the event was certainly no poorer for their absence.

It remains one to see and be seen, clearly witnessed by the number of celebrities on show, including the likes of Conor McGregor, Zinedine Zidane and Patrick Dempsey, to name a few.

In chatting to celebrity chef Tom Kerridge at an event hosted by Aston Martin, he highlighted the fact the yacht he was working on for the team was one of six being catered for overall by his company.

Nice work if you can get it, quite naturally, but highlighting the fact the Monaco GP, aside from being a draw for celebrities, remains a highly-prized corporate event for businesses and clients.

For the average fan, aside from the stunning 'wow factor' backdrop, a stroll around the port means at very few other venues can they get so close to their heroes and take a peak inside the motorhomes when the doors temporarily open.

Tickets come at a price, more than most obviously, and the offset is you may not get bang for your buck come race day.

Overall, though, Monaco has a cachet that F1 enjoys and at no other circuit can be replicated - no matter how hard Miami tried to do so recently.

So why is the Monaco Grand Prix under threat?

Quite simply, its contract has now expired but also it is stuck in its ways, believing the status it has long enjoyed should continue to be respected by F1.

It is a situation that harks back to the days of former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone and the deal cut at the time which means that of all the current venues, it pays by far the least.

The belief held by many is that Monaco does not pay at all but that is inaccurate. The amount is nominal, though, in contrast to the likes of the Middle Eastern countries in Abu Dhabi, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia that spend $40-50million per year.

Monaco is now negotiating on a new deal with F1, and GPFans can reveal there is an impasse, and not just with regard to the annual hosting fee.

F1 would like to see changes made to the circuit layout, to at least offer one area for a car to overtake given the near impossibility of doing so in dry conditions.

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc has suggested turning left at Portier, before the tunnel, and using the relative straight there before coming back around for the tunnel.

The Automobile Club de Monaco, run by Ecclestone ally Michel Boeri, is understood to be unwilling to make any alterations regarding the track or its date on the calendar, which is another bone of contention with F1.

Historically, Monaco has run on the final weekend in May, however, F1 is seeking to regionalise the calendar to assist with travel and freight costs for the sport and teams.

This would likely see Monaco pushed to a June date but again the ACM seems to have no intention of wanting to budge.

And finally, there is the obvious question of money.

F1 is looking for Monaco to pay what it considers to be the going rate - nowhere near the fees of the aforementioned Middle Eastern trio - albeit with a discounted nod to its longevity on the calendar.

Unsurprisingly, the ACM is looking for a considerably reduced figure.

So what's the solution?

One side has to give way in the negotiations.

The problem for the ACM is that F1 is in such high demand at present it can afford to pick and choose which races it wants on its calendar.

F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali only recently stated the interest was such the calendar could run to 30 races, with South Africa understood to be the next addition.

F1 has the high ground here given the clamour for an event from various countries so it is a question of whether Monaco is willing to compromise.

So to answer the questions at the very top of this article:

Does F1 need Monaco? No. That's not to say it does not want to retain it. Of course it does, given its historical significance but that is only a minor consideration in the greater scheme of things.

But when there is more money to be made elsewhere, and different venues that would add variety to the calendar, Domenicali is understood to be willing to walk away.

So does Monaco need F1? We are about to find out. If Boeri and the ACM agree to F1's demands and sign a new deal then we will know Domenicali has triumphed.

If not, and Boeri remains entrenched, then we will also know Monaco can live without F1.

There is still time for a resolution but do not be surprised, when a draft calendar is issued later this year, to find a different date and a TBC against its name.

For now, we await the final outcome.

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