Although little is known publicly about the amounts paid by organisers to host Formula 1 races, it is known that deals have been negotiated on an individual basis and the general opinion was that Monaco paid little or no money to host the grand prix through the streets of the principality – but it now appears that this is not quite true.
Monaco is the crown jewel of the Formula 1 calendar, reportedly the race where most contracts are agreed or signed-off for the following season. Also where the sport’s heavy hitters converge annually for the glamourous weekend on the Cote D’Azur.
Considering that hillside town which cascades into the Mediterranean, comes to a virtual close during their grand prix weekends and the fact that it has been a mainstay of the F1 calendar since 1955, you would expect the hefty fees to have been waived by the sport’s former boss Bernie Ecclestone.
Not so according to Prince Albert II of Monaco who told the FIA’s Auto magazine, “That’s just a rumour. Maybe the rights are less expensive than for other circuits, but there is a fee. Bernie Ecclestone was well aware what Monaco brought to Formula One, he said it himself, as do the sponsors and drivers.”
“Bernie always took care of us, but he still made us pay what he reckoned was the right amount. I don’t know all the figures and maybe it is less than for some other races, but you have to look at what the Monaco GP represents historically. We have not been favoured unduly and we pay what we have to pay,” confirmed Prince Albert.
The Prince also recalled the first race he attended in his town, “In 1965. The race was won by Graham Hill. I was seven years old and it made a big impression on me. There was a lot of noise and I remember covering my ears.”
“That noise delivered an excitement level that is less evident today. But what I really miss is the smell of castor oil, which added to the charm of it,” added Prince Albert.