Revealed: How close Monaco came to being axed from F1 calendar
Prince Albert of Monaco insists the organisers of the Monte Carlo street race are in a “very good place” with F1 bosses despite hanging on tenterhooks last year as they awaited a renewal.
And that while that’s “theoretically a five-year contract”, the Prince says it’s actually only three years and then there will be an assessment.
The Monaco Grand Prix was one of the first races on the official 1950 Formula 1 World Championship calendar, a race won by Juan Manuel Fangio in an Alfa Romeo. Back on the calendar in 1955, the race has featured every since bar 2020’s Covid-hit campaign.
Won by big names such as Stirling Moss, Graham Hill, Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher, Monaco has divided opinion amongst today’s fans – a procession or a test of precision.
It’s also, according to reports, one of the cheapest grands prix for the promoter with Monaco paying a privileged fee of just $15 million, which is half, if not less, of what F1’s newer venues pay.
This led to protracted talks last season as Monaco tried to secure its future, and F1 bosses debated whether or not historic races should be given a free – or at least easier – pass.
A new deal was eventually confirmed, one running until 2025. But according to Albert, the Prince of Monaco, it’s actually a five-year deal but one that is dependent on an assessment.
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Speaking on the ‘Formula 1 for Success’ podcast, double Monaco Grand Prix winner David Coulthard said: There was a bit of a delay in the announcement of the extension of the contract and we were all getting a bit nervous that could we imagine Formula One not being here in the Principality.”
The Prince replied: “That’s all been sorted out. We’re in a, well it’s theoretically a five-year contract with an assessment after three years.
“There were some points that that needed to be clarified, they weren’t clarified but took a little longer than was anticipated.
“But we’re in a very good place with a very good dynamic and in a very good working relationship with Liberty Media and the F1 people. It has to be that way because of course we have no intention of not being on the F1 circuit.
“I’m enjoying a very good relationship with everybody, with Stefano Domenicali and everybody else, in those negotiations but also in in the in the F1 world.”
It was the same during Prince Albert’s tie with Bernie.
“Absolutely, he was an incredible personality. He could be very demanding and very tough sometimes, but I think we had a very good understanding and a very good relationship.”
This season one of Monaco’s official 9,400 citizens will be racing for the victory around the streets of the Principalty – Leclerc.
Although he was on pole position in 2021 and again in 2022, his Monaco curse struck with a drifeshaft failure followed by a botch stratgy.
This season the Prince is hoping for better fortunes for his driver.
“Tt’s a tremendous pride and joy for us,” he said. “I’ve been following him since since he was 14, since he won his first titles in go kart racing. And he went through the ranks of the Ferrari Academy and he’s incredibly talented.
“He’s a wonderful young man. Great, values great personality. He’s really doesn’t shy away from conversations. Every time I listen to him, post race interview, he’s very objective, very critical about his performance – more so than most drivers.
“He’s had some great successes and of course he’s had some tough times as well. But we really hope that one day he will not only win here at Monaco, but that he will end the big title.
“But ptience is also a great quality to have, even if you’re driving extremely fast around tight corners, but I’m sure his time will come. If he has the right car of course and if he has the right team around it.”
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