All that glitters is gold in Monaco


On the eve of tomorrow's Monaco Grand Prix, it is worth considering just how much truth there is in the old saying that Monaco brings more to F1 than F1 brings to Monaco.

Speaking to Pitpass' business reporter Chris Sylt Michel Boeri, president of event organiser the Automobile Club de Monaco (ACM), said: "the turnover for the city during this period is generally estimated to be around €100 million, and €10 million for the bordering towns." This is more than any other F1 race generates and it's largely down to spectators and space.

Over the four days of the Grand Prix, 200,000 spectators descend on the tiny Mediterranean tax haven, which has a resident population of just 30,000. Space restrictions mean Monaco has fewer seats than any other F1 circuit and Boeri said "the seated capacity is 22,000 and 15,000 unallocated tickets. Of course Sunday is the peak day: the city literally explodes. It is estimated that there are 100,000 people present in the principality."

Those who aren't seated are paying a princely sum to hang from the balconies of apartments or stand on the decks of superyachts to follow the race.

With limited tickets, revenues alone do not meet the huge cost to the ACM of transforming the city into a racetrack. It takes six weeks, and requires 3000 staff, to put up 1100 tonnes of grandstands, 900 tonnes of pit garages and 33 kilometres of barriers.

"The budget for the Grand Prix is around €30 million," said Boeri, adding that "the Automobile Club of Monaco benefits from a state subsidy of around €6 million for the Grand Prix." In addition to money from ticketing, the balance of the ACM's revenues come from trackside advertisers such as Vodafone and Shell, which, according to industry monitor Formula Money, pay a total of about €11 million - the most received by any F1 race.

Unlike almost all other F1 circuits, the revenues from trackside advertising at Monaco go to the organiser rather than to the F1 group. Boeri is blunt about why this happens "Why shouldn't it? Advertising is one of the takings which makes up, with those from grandstand ticket sales, the means to recoup the necessary funds to put on the event. It is true that other circuits prefer to delegate the charge of this activity. This isn't the case with Monaco," he says. Other circuits may wish they had Monaco's historic status which allows it to do this but such prestige is unique on the F1 calendar.

Still, despite the firm financial footing of the race, Monaco's Grand Prix could still face hurdles in future. The ACM has recently decided to launch a study into the impact of the Grand Prix on the environment. "This is an implementation of the principles fixed by his serene highness Prince Albert II," says Patrice Cellario, Monaco's director of planning. Albert is a committed environmentalist but whether he would consider scrapping the GP if the study showed it to be a heavy polluter is another matter. One thing that's for sure is that doing so would make one heck of a statement for his 'green' cause.

Article from Pitpass (

Published: 24/05/2008
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