Leclerc: "F1 without Monaco for me is not F1"

Charles Leclerc says Formula 1 "without Monaco for me is not F1" amid ongoing rumours about the future of the principality’s Grand Prix.

A scenic view of the Swimming Pool

The possibility of the race dropping off the calendar has been discussed in recent weeks, and some sources suggest that teams have already been told that it is likely to happen in 2023.

Monaco has survived over the decades with a generously low race hosting fee that was agreed in the Bernie Ecclestone era.

Liberty Media has become increasingly frustrated with Monaco’s seemingly guaranteed good deal at a time when there is no shortage of candidates willing to pay much bigger sums to join the calendar.

In addition Monaco has always retained the right to create the TV broadcast, and to fill the environs of the circuit with its own sponsors, some of which clash with F1’s main partners.

They include TAG Heuer, the “official watch of the Monaco GP,” and a direct rival of key F1 backer Rolex.

Stefano Domenicali’s recent declaration to the teams about regionalising the calendar also made it clear that irrespective of any other issues Monaco could be obliged to move from its traditional late May date, potentially to allow Miami and Montreal to run back-to-back.

That can also be seen as another attempt to put pressure on the Automobile Club de Monaco to agree to a better deal for F1.

Home crowd favourite Leclerc insists that the race should stay on the calendar.

"I think it would be a bad move for both parties now,” he said. “I've never known Monaco without F1, apart from for COVID reasons in 2020.

“And F1 without Monaco for me is not F1. I think F1 has a history, has some historic tracks like Silverstone, like Monza, and like Monaco too, and I think they should stay in the calendar.”

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari F1-75

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari F1-75

Photo by: Carl Bingham / Motorsport Images

Commercial issues aside one of the regular complaints about Monaco is the lack of overtaking on a track that has not changed in many years.

Asked about the possibility of modifying the layout Leclerc admitted that it could be difficult.

"I thought about it sometimes, whether it will improve a lot overtaking,” he said. “I don't know, maybe before the tunnel you can go to the left and do a big straight there. But how feasible it is?

“I'm not sure. Of course overtaking is difficult, but I think what we all love as drivers is the challenge, especially in qualifying to do that lap, just pushing.

“There's no track that comes close to the adrenaline we get in Monaco, and for me it's part of F1 history and should stay in F1."

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