Liberty: Nice GP talk not designed to pressure Monaco over F1 race


F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali recently revealed that Nice had expressed an interest in hosting the race after the current deal with Paul Ricard expired.

At the same time, F1 is in negotiations with Monaco over an improved future deal.

The principality not only pays the lowest fees of any event, it also creates its own broadcast and retains the rights to put up circuit signage for its own sponsors.

A clash between official F1 partner Rolex and Monaco’s own deal with TAG Heuer is a source of considerable frustration for Liberty.

Many see Domenicali’s revelation of Nice’s bid as a way to put pressure on Monaco with the clear implication that F1 could stage a street race a few miles from the coast.

However, Maffei insisted that pushing Nice’s bid was not a bargaining tactic.

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“No, we just want to have great races, that’s what we want,” he told UKTN. “We are always looking, there are a lot of people interested in hosting a race, and we are looking at the alternatives.

When asked if Liberty and F1 were playing hardball with Monaco over a future deal, he denied that was the case.

“I challenge that characterization. I think Monaco have the best offer of any track on the calendar. They might deserve it. But there are some things that have to be consistent with everyone.

“We think Monaco is a special place, a wonderful place. But, you know, fairness says there are certain things that should be everywhere.”

Regarding the clash of watch brands, he notes: “We are trying to protect our sponsors.”

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A view of the Monaco circuit

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Maffei said recently that F1 could follow the Las Vegas model and get involved as a promoter in some “traditional” events. However, he denied that Monaco could fall under such a deal.

“I think what I said is we’re going to try this, it has potential, we could be sponsors elsewhere. We don’t have any current plans. But it’s an interesting model,” did he declare.

“First we’re going to see if we can make it in Las Vegas. If we had to pick another place, I’m not sure. [Monaco] This is where I would start so that we are where we add the most value. I think there are other places where we could be more positive.”

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Asked if Spa was an example of a venue that needed a promotional boost, he replied: “There’s nothing in mind yet. I think a lot of our promoters have stepped up their game. and many have done things to improve the facilities and make it a better experience.

“And we welcome that, and where we can be of help, we would like to be.”

Meanwhile, Maffei is optimistic that a deal can be struck to hold a South African GP at Kyalami, with an April 2023 date seen as likely.

“We’ll see. We’re trying to say we race on every continent where people have cars. We’re trying, we haven’t gotten there yet. But we’re trying. I think things have settled down well there. .”


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