Formula 1 wants Monaco to spend more to host an opulent Grand Prix

Liberty Media Corp., which owns the Formula 1 racing business, is seeking additional funding from the principality of Monaco as part of advanced talks for a new contract that will extend the historic motor race beyond 2025.

Monaco pays about $20 million a year to host the event, the lowest total on the 24-race calendar, and representatives from Liberty Media are seeking a raise, according to people familiar with the discussions. The parties agreed to the current three-year deal in September 2022. This year, the action begins on May 24.

Like all major tourist attractions, the Monaco Grand Prix provides a huge economic boost to the region, filling hotel rooms with big and small spenders. Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, two other hosts of the race, shell out more than $50 million a year, according to some estimates. The fees provide Formula 1 with funds which it uses to pay prize money at the end of each season.

A Formula 1 spokesperson declined to comment on the current talks but said the company is not considering withdrawing from Monaco. The Automobile Club de Monaco, which organizes the race, did not respond to a request for comment.

Under CEO Greg Maffei, Liberty Media has grown annual Formula 1 revenue by more than 50% since 2019 to $3.22 billion last year. The company has focused on expanding Formula 1 to countries beyond Europe, where the sport originated. The United States now hosts three races (in Miami, Austin and Las Vegas) and there have been persistent rumors that a race will be held in another American city.

In 2022, New York City Mayor Eric Adams offered Randall’s Island as a possible venue, but Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali disagreed with the viability of that location, a small island of baseball fields that would be difficult to access for the more than 300,000 fans expected at such an event.

Thailand’s Prime Minister recently met with F1 officials to discuss a race in Bangkok.

Held on the sun-drenched streets of Monte Carlo, the glamorous Monaco Grand Prix is ​​considered a must-see event in motorsports. Monaco organizers have not been willing to change their business model too much because they are confident that the history and prestige of their nearly 100-year-old circuit outweigh financial considerations, one person said. Many of the drivers live in Monaco.

But Formula 1 fans and prominent racers such as Max Verstappen, Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton have criticized the two-mile track as oppressively boring, as the size of modern racing cars prohibits them from daring overtakes and three-way races. in line as in the most modern circuits. allow.

“Thank God that’s over, it was the most boring race I’ve ever been in,” said seven-time world champion Hamilton after finishing third there in 2022.

The principality has been forced to change in the past. Two years ago, he gave up the right to produce his own television coverage of the race in exchange for a new contract.

“Monaco epitomizes what F1 is all about,” said Vincenzo Landino, an F1 analyst and consultant who publishes the Qualifier, a newsletter about the sport. “If you get rid of that, you now have a brand crisis, in my opinion.”

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