F1 drivers want to save the Monaco Grand Prix
Joe Portlock – Formula 1Getty Images
- The president of the Automobile Club De Monaco guarantees that the Monaco Grand Prix will continue, even if the signings are still not on the dotted line.
- “I don’t think you can replace Monaco,” said reigning F1 champion and Red Bull driver Max Verstappen.
- “I think Monaco is extremely special. It also has its history behind it,” said Alpine driver Esteban Ocon.
Formula 1’s contract to stage the Monaco Grand Prix expires at the end of this season, but drivers say the race must remain on the F1 calendar, at all costs.
“I don’t think you can replace Monaco,” defending F1 champion and Red Bull driver Max Verstappen said during Friday’s press session at tomorrow’s Miami Grand Prix. “Monaco has such a history. Of course, it takes time to build that. And also, I mean, (Miami) is completely different from Monaco. There’s a lot more space here and the whole vibe is different. Different types of culture too. So yeah, you have to find a middle ground between that sort of thing – Monaco and of course, the permanent race tracks.
In March, F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali inferred that Monaco could be on the chopping block when their current F1 contract expires this year. But contracts also expire for races with France, Belgium and Mexico.
“There are promoters whose agreements are about to expire, and probably some of the current grand prix will no longer be part of the calendar,” Domenicali threatened. “Others will remain but in a different form, like rotating between different tracks.”
Alpine racer Esteban Ocon agreed with Verstappen on Friday, calling Monaco “extremely special. There’s also history behind it. And it’s a way of racing that you don’t get anywhere else. You really have you qualify and the race is very difficult. Overtake or you have to take a risk. So for us it’s completely different.”
Michel Boeri, chairman of the Monaco Grand Prix organizing group Automobile Club De Monaco (ACM), recently threw cold water on the Domencali threat.
“It was suggested that Liberty Media’s demands were too excessive for Monaco and the grand prix would no longer take place,” he added. Boeri told the French magazine Auto Weekly. “That’s not true. We are still in talks with them and now we have to make it happen by signing a contract. I can guarantee you that after 2022 the grand prix will continue to take place. I don’t know if the contract will be for three or five years, but that’s a detail.
Still, signings are not yet on the dotted line for the iconic race, which has been held every year since 1955 except for 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Alfa Romeo driver Valterri Bottas joined the chorus to retain the Monaco Grand Prix. “It’s so nice to come to these events and they are amazing events. And yes, in the future too, the more the better, I think. But Monaco will always be in Monaco and that is because of the history and it’s a different place anyway.
Finally, Haas Racing driver Kevin Magnussen’s comments were brief and to the point: “Nothing more to add. I love Monaco.
Follow Autoweek contributor Jerry Bonkowski on Twitter @JerryBonkowski
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