Monaco organisers to respond to criticism?

Under-fire Monaco race organisers are in negotiation to build a new pits complex.

Monaco organisers to respond to criticism?

As criticism of the facilities mounted, Formula One ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone defended the jewel in the Formula One crown.

"They have done a fantastic job here considering it is a race in the middle of a city," he said. "If we want to be here then this is the way it has got to be. If they could do anything building-wise they would."

Discussions are still in the early stages and work will not start until after the completion of the new harbour complex which got underway in October and should finish in two years time. Talks are being carried out with the Monaco government but it would require a change in the law, and a considerable financial investment, for building on the harbour front to go ahead.

But the circuit makes tens of millions of dollars from the event and it is the only one in the calendar that is allowed to stage practice a day early, increasing revenue.

The circuit is under fire for its cramped and dangerous pit lane, which is increasingly out of step with modern F1. McLaren boss Ron Dennis, Frank Williams and Michael Schumacher led criticisms of the facilities. Dennis was the most outspoken describing the pit lane as "third world".

Frank Williams added: "Obviously the pit lane is too small but that's Monaco. But we are in show business and the world loves us to perform here. And the people that pay us want us to perform here.

"The money is here as well. It is very hard work for the teams, especially for those who are working up the hill. At the end of the day we are here and this is part of the championship and whatever happens someone will go home absolutely delighted."

The commercial reality is that Monaco is a major attraction for the sport's sponsors. There are few teams, if any, that want the event taken off the calendar but they would all welcome long-overdue improvements.

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