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F1 could "bail on" Monaco, warns Brown


Zak Brown warns that Monaco cannot take its place on the F1 calendar for granted, and unsurprisingly its money that's the problem.

When F1 revealed the proposed regulations for 2026 last week, the teams were all too eager to take to social media to praise the move, telling the world how good it was all going to be.

Just 48 hours later the drivers and team representatives were picking the regulations to pieces, warning of all number of dire consequences should they be imposed as is.

With F1's owners exploiting every possible avenue in order to increase what are already record revenues, the teams are fully on board, and as Liberty CEO, Greg Maffei so succinctly put it recently, the approach is entirely different to the previous management.

Indeed, it's much like Aesop's fable about the North Wind and the Sun, who argue over which is the stronger.

Spotting a man walking, they wager over who can force him to remove his coat. The North Wind blows with all his might, however the man simply pulls his coat tighter, whereas when the sun merely shines the man gently removes the garment.

Though wondering if anyone has ever compared Mr E to the North Wind before, the fact is that with the promise of lots and lots of dosh, and lots and lots of susceptible new fans to whom the teams can sell all end of expensive rubbish, Liberty has them mesmerised and almost every single conversation comes down to money and how much more of it they can make.

Ever the marketing man, Brown, who recently valued Williams at $1.5bn - that's right, the team with facilities 20 years out of date - believes the race promoters should be paying their way also, and with the likes of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Azerbaijan and Bahrain all thought to be paying $50m a year, the McLaren boss believes that Monaco - said to pay the lowest fee on the calendar - should be paying its fair share.

Indeed, unless the Principality shells out more moolah, Brown believes that sport could "bail on" the historic venue.

"Could we bail on Monaco? We could. This sport is so strong," he tells Bloomberg. "I'd be surprised if it didn't stay on the calendar," he adds, "but in a way, would it create a lot of noise in the short term?

"Would people move on and Formula One be as strong as ever? I think it would.

"They need to get caught up there," he warns, "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."

As one might expect, Brown who likes to have his cake and eat it, wants to keep the likes of Monaco, Monza and Silverstone on board, but as he, F1 and fellow team bosses eye more big hitters like the aforementioned Qatars and Bahrains, in order to retain the classics whilst welcoming more cash-rich promoters the older circuits would need to be used on a rotational basis.

"I'd love to see us in Korea," says Brown, who has probably forgotten that the previous venture failed miserably. "I'd love to see us in Thailand... we almost got into Vietnam," he adds, without a hint of irony.

"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 adds, having possibly forgotten the three excursions to the Buddh International Circuit.

"Monaco could fall into that (rotational) camp if you'd like," he helpfully suggests.

Surprisingly, the marketing guru seems to have forgotten that other than the racing, the Monaco Grand Prix is a major event on the social and business calendar, and with the great and the good usually appearing down the road at Cannes it attracts more than its fair share of 'celebrities'.

However, other than the beautiful people that fill the grid and tell us how much they love the sport they have followed since episode one of Drive to Survive, a lot of very important deals are done over the Monaco weekend - and not always related to F1 - as businesses use the iconic event to entertain and impress potential customers... some of those new venues Zak talks about won't have anything like the same allure.


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1. Posted by kenji, 13/06/2024 1:11

"F1 is simply a business that masquerades as a sport. Teams are judged by their success in the market based on a suspect competetive environment. The bigger the business the more likely that that business will dominate in the market place although there are quite a few exceptions to that. The major flaw in this business model is the fact that results are manipulated to achieve certain results not only in the market place but also to support internal driver strategies and hierarchies. F1 is a very mixed 'business'. When race results are 'fixed' under the guise of team orders the concept of true competition can well be deemed worthless...IMO."

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2. Posted by Spindoctor, 12/06/2024 14:56

"F1 has now fallen into the hands of the Accountants & Corporate myth-makers, aim/ing, above all, to maximise profit & "shareholder value". Team Principles will probably be getting nice bonuses based on those results hence (mabe) Brown's bigging up of Team's (ie Shareholder) value.The racing & any other notions of "Sport" are merely a pretext by which the money can be slurped from the trough."

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3. Posted by BrightonCorgi, 12/06/2024 11:55

"If F1 brought back refueling, it would add a bunch of excitement to Monaco and every other race."

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4. Posted by Laz, 12/06/2024 3:05

"Brown is a money hungry Muppet ( sorry love the real Muppets).
Monaco has reached its end of life due to the cars being too big .
I have too say Canada is the first race in many years that kept me excited until the end -right across the field. Maybe Bernie was right and we need to put sprinklers on all the corners."

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5. Posted by kenji, 12/06/2024 2:34

"Monaco is just a part of the F1 fabric. Some races are better than others for a host of reasons.I concur that there are times when the the' train' is infinitely boring and I can quite easily relieve that by switching off. The fact is, I never have. To lose the Monaco race would be a big disappointment for many many people and I would be one of them. The endless quest for instant gratification is a rejection of classical nuanced events of which Monaco is one. Can anyone discard the incredible drive that Ricciardo produced whilst driving a severely wounded car to a classic win? On another level, Brown is getting extremely mouthy of late and the Liberty line he seems to be toeing has many possible ramifications for the future, IMO. "

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6. Posted by FIRSTINTO 1, 12/06/2024 0:48

"Hey guys, there is one side to this debate you are forgetting about. Every driver from every decade has felt that Monaco is the biggest challenge they face on the entire calendar (with the possible exception of the Nurburgring). They all dream about winning at Monaco so shouldn't we enjoy the masters at work. To many it's the highlight of their careers. So what if passing is minimal? I guess some of you have forgotten how Senna and Mansel passed other drivers when no one else could and in "impossible to pass" corners. Watch some videos of those amazing drives. The commitment and precision it takes is to win there is monumental. Come on, let's stop whining about the passing problem and enjoy what the best drivers in the world do. Some of you sound just like the team owners when they give their views on the Andretti team coming into the sport!

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7. Posted by Ricardo_sanchez, 11/06/2024 22:27

"@chester - yes, I unashamedly support Monaco staying on the calendar. The races are often processional but Monaco is unique in terms of history, glamour, prestige and the overall spectacle. I can forgive the lack of overtaking because Monaco has other aspects that compensate. Losing it from the calendar would be a massive own goal for the sport and I don’t think even Liberty as quite that stupid. "

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8. Posted by Chester, 11/06/2024 21:32

"Wow. Many here would like the procession at Monaco to continue. Do you really think the cars will get smaller so they can race properly at Monaco?
It is the worst track on the schedule. But I guess if watching paint dry is your thing, then Sunday in Monaco is a dream.

And Las Vegas sucks because although the racing is good for street circuit, it is not Monaco. Wow. "

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9. Posted by Team Hack, 11/06/2024 17:27

"Internal conversation re: Monaco GP

Destination city - Check
Celebs & VIPs galore - Check
Yachts and money everywhere - Check
Fans close to the action - Check
Everything super expensive – Check

One problem,they do not pay the 'right' hosting fee......

Well we can't make the cars smaller because we have to appear 'green'.

Well they can't make the track bigger.

Hmm.. so we need an unofficial PR man,lets call him Mr Bean for the moment,to start gently seeping the decision that we all know has already been made.

Sounds like a plan,

What's for lunch?"

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10. Posted by KKK, 11/06/2024 15:45

"What is this p**is been smoking ? Monaco has become a "follow the leader" since they made the cars so wide, long and bulky. Get rid of the electric power unit and you save 40 cm in wheelbase in one fell swoop. And put a muzzle on Mr Brown!"

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11. Posted by BrightonCorgi, 11/06/2024 13:52

"Brown is like, "Let's get rid of Monaco, Monza, and Silverstone... The fans will love it. They'd rather see races in Vietnam and Bangladesh.""

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12. Posted by Ricardo_sanchez, 11/06/2024 12:58

"Mr Brown appears to be a man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing."

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13. Posted by Chester, 11/06/2024 12:54

"The race should be pulled for dullness. Only qualifying is worth watching. The Monaco race is a pure case of the Emperor's New Clothes.

I remember as a youngster watching ABC's Wide World of Sports promo for the Monaco Grand Prix. It would be aired (tape delayed) right after the Indy 500 ended. I still remember the let down watching a train of cars."

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14. Posted by flyinglap, 11/06/2024 12:37

"And what if SAS Prince Albert II decided instead to revoke the permanent resident status of all (or some) of the F1 team managers, drivers, agents and the like (such as Zak Brown himself) who call Monaco their home? That would be quite entertaining, even on a limited scale, "pour encourager les autres" ;) I bet (pun intended) that Monaco will not be affected, contrary to F1. Zak Brown has been annoying us (F1 fans) with his loud vaporous presence for too many years. He somehow managed to convince his overlords at McLaren for so long that he is the right man for the job, but he might soon run out of luck. Just two days ago they threw away another win. It is less easy to invent excuses when you happen to have the fastest car. He would be wise to concentrate on the task at hand of minding his own team's business, unless of course he is aiming for the post of Liberty CEO in the near futute."

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15. Posted by Max Noble, 11/06/2024 12:33

"I could write a lot. I’ll be brief and save energy. The man is a Muppet. "

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