F1 ‘could bail’ on Monaco GP, says Zak Brown

Liberty Media is reportedly pursuing an increase on US$20m-a-year hosting fee deal for iconic circuit.
Getty Images
  • Monaco pays the least of any circuit on the F1 schedule
  • Brown wants to see a rotational policy applied to eight events per season
  • South Korea, Thailand and South Africa singled out as markets to target

McLaren Racing chief executive Zak Brown has claimed that Formula One can live without the Monaco Grand Prix.

Reports emerged in the buildup to this year’s race that Liberty Media is seeking a hosting fee increase from the iconic circuit to extend its contract beyond 2025 – it currently pays around US$20 million per season. Brown believes the race’s place on the calendar should not be secure based on history alone.

“Could we bail on Monaco? We could. This sport is so strong,” he told Bloomberg. “I’d be surprised if it didn’t stay on the calendar – but in a way, would it create a lot of noise in the short term? Yes. Would people move on and Formula One be as strong as ever? I think it would.”

In terms of hosting fees, Monaco currently pays the least on the calendar. The likes of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Azerbaijan and Bahrain all pay north of US$50 million.

Brown continued: “They need to get caught up there, because we are a commercial sport, and one could argue: ‘Wait a minute, some of these other venues are driving similar TV ratings, great racing and contributing a lot more to the growth of the sport fiscally.’ You’ve got the Miamis, the Vegases, the Singapores – these are all awesome races.”

Brown wants to see new markets explored, especially the rumoured locations in southeast Asia, and suggested that a rotational policy could be employed at eight events per season to allow new races to join the calendar without expanding the schedule beyond the current 24 Grands Prix.

“I’d love to see us in Korea,” said Brown. “I’d love to see us in Thailand. We almost got into Vietnam. I’d love South Africa and some of these other territories so we can continue to expand our global footprint. India would be a great market to be in.”

He added: “Monaco could fall into that [rotational] camp if you’d like.”

BlackBook says…

It would be a surprise to see an iconic race like the Monaco Grand Prix to fall off the schedule, even with its shortcomings.

One third of motorsport’s triple crown, alongside the Indianapolis 500 and the 24 Hours of Le Mans, this is a race that contributes so much to the legacies of drivers.

While work needs to be done on improving the overall show of the race, it would be a risky move for Formula One to sever links with an event so closely tied to its history. 

Don’t miss the latest news and insights from across the business world of motorsport. Subscribe to the BlackBook Motorsport Weekly newsletter here.


Related content