Monaco Grand Prix under threat

The world of F1 is in turmoil after reports claimed Bernie Ecclestone would drop the Monaco circuit.

Bernie Ecclestone reportedly said he could do without the Monaco Grand Prix. Monaco's hospitality professionals feared for the local economy and the enormous loss to businesses. The GP represents 15% to 20% of some enterprises' annual turnover, others could see their sales halved.

Might the Monaco GP really be abandoned? The truth is that the Automobile Club de Monaco's (ACM) 10 year contract with F1 rights holder CVC Capital has just ended and is now being renegotiated. Ecclestone represents CVC Capital which receives an estimated 31.2 million dollars for each GP, but for historic reasons Monaco pays a lot less than this. Known as a hard negotiator, the F1 boss is no doubt putting pressure on the ACM for a renegotiation of terms. In fact reading the original quote, it seems that Ecclestone really is just after more money (emphasis by Monaco IQ):

Even the historic Monaco Grand Prix could face the chop, as Ecclestone says, "We can do without Monaco." The principality has been on F1's calendar since 1955 and is believed to be the only race which pays no fee. Ecclestone says he doesn't expect he will ditch Monaco but grumpily admits, "They don't pay enough."

The ACM's reaction to the furore has been a dignified no comment. Confirming that they're in the middle of negotiations, on 20th July the ACM press release stated:

The Automobile Club de Monaco does not intend to comment on the statement attributed to Mr Ecclestone regarding the future of the Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix. [...] The Automobile Club de Monaco and Formula One Management are currently engaged in negotiations [and] when the time comes [...] will issue a press release.

The Monaco Grand Prix has been part of the world championship since 1955. Along with Ferarri, it's impossible to imagine F1 without it.

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