Charles Leclerc says “F1 without Monaco is not F1” ahead of his home race amid rumours about the future of the Monaco Grand Prix.
The possibility of the race dropping off the calendar has been discussed in recent weeks and sources suggest that teams have already been told that Monaco is likely to be axed in 2023.
Monaco has survived over the years with a low race hosting fee which was agreed in the Bernie Ecclestone era.
F1’s new owners Liberty Media has become increasingly frustrated with Monaco’s seemingly guaranteed good deal.
This coincides with an ever growing queue of potential venues willing to pay more than Monaco to join the calendar.
Monaco has enjoyed various perks due to it’s generous deal including retaining the right to create the TV broadcast and emblazon the circuit with it’s own sponsors.
Some sponsors clash with F1’s main backers including TAG Heuer, a key rival of Formula 1 backer Rolex.
Stefano Domenicali recently declared that the schedule may be reshuffled with races being regionalised.
This could present yet another issue for the Monaco Grand Prix as the Miami and Canadian Grand Prix could run back-to-back.
Monagasque driver Leclerc is adamant that the race should stay on the calendar.
"I think it would be a bad move for both parties now," he said. "I've never known Monaco without F1, apart from for COVID reasons in 2020.
"And F1 without Monaco for me is not F1. I think F1 has a history, has some historic tracks like Silverstone, like Monza, and like Monaco too, and I think they should stay in the calendar.”
Along with the various commercial issues, Monaco has lacked spectacular racing and the layout remained largely similar over the years.
The 24-year-old admits that adjusting the two mile layout would be tricky.
"I thought about it sometimes, whether it will improve a lot overtaking," he said. "I don't know, maybe before the tunnel you can go to the left and do a big straight there. But how feasible it is?
"I'm not sure. Of course overtaking is difficult, but I think what we all love as drivers is the challenge, especially in qualifying to do that lap, just pushing.
"There's no track that comes close to the adrenaline we get in Monaco, and for me it's part of F1 history and should stay in F1."