Former Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone is adamant that there will be a Monaco Grand Prix in years to come, despite its contract yet to be renewed.
The contract for the race in the Principality expired in 2021, but a one-year extension was agreed for this season, meaning that the race was able to take place last weekend.
Sergio Perez walked out the winner of the 68th championship race at the event, but there are fears that, now the deal is up, there may not be a 69th or indeed a 70th.
Ecclestone, however, predicts that nobody is brave enough to make the huge decision to drop Monaco from the calendar, as it is one of the most iconic races in motorsport.
“I don’t think anyone’s got the balls to take that race away from Monaco,” he said.
“Whether it’s the worst race or the best race or whatever, it’s the crown jewel.”
The Briton has previously gone on record to slate the Miami Grand Prix a few weeks back, and he affirms that it was nothing more than a poor imitation of Monte Carlo.
“Look at Miami. That wasn’t a Formula 1 race, it could have been a local club race, couldn’t it?” explained Ecclestone.
“They had those boats in the car park trying to make it look like Monaco.”
Flavio Briatore said just before the race on Sunday that a new deal will be agreed in the next “two weeks,” and Ecclestone reveals that there is no panic among organisers, who seem very optimistic of an extension.
“They are still super, super-happy and confident with everything without any drama so I don’t see any problems there at all,” added the 91-year-old.
Monaco has a unique distinction in that it pays very little to be on the calendar compared to other venues, but McLaren CEO Zak Brown indicates that this probably should not be the case.
“I think Monaco has had a very advantageous commercial agreement with F1 forever, and I think all F1 is trying to do is get a commercial agreement in place that’s more consistent with the other venues while recognising its importance on the calendar,” said the American.
“But I think F1 is now the size and scope that it’s bigger than any one team, any one driver, any one race.
“Of course, none of us want to see Monaco go, but also understand that as a commercial rights holder they need to have an arrangement more consistent with the other venues given the demand of tracks that want to host a grand prix.”
Belgium, France, Austria and Mexico are also all in danger of being axed from the calendar when their contracts expire this year amid the pinnacle of motorsport’s push to explore new demographics around the world.