Leclerc says F1 without Monaco 'isn't F1 for me'


Charles Leclerc says Formula 1 and Monaco would both lose out if the Principality was dropped from the sport's calendar, insisting "F1 without Monaco is not F1".

There's been speculation this year over the future of F1's crown jewel - the Monaco Grand Prix - in the wake of the arrivals of new events such as Miami that recently hosted its inaugural race or Las Vegas which will be added to next year's schedule.

Come rain or shine, Monaco and its street circuit from a different era have survived the test of time, thanks to the event's legacy and prestige which have always safeguarded its privileged status.

F1 chief executive Stefano Domenicali recently revealed that the sport's calendar is likely to undergo a restructuring in the future, with races scheduled by regions to ease the logistical burden on teams.

It has been suggested that Monaco could be required by F1 to move its event from its traditional late May date to give way to a succession of North American races, although many believe that such a plan has only been hinted at by commercial rights holder Liberty Media to pressure the Automobile Club of Monaco into accepting a revised deal.

But Leclerc, born and raised in Monte-Carlo, believes F1 would be wrong to drop his home race.

"I think it would be a bad move for both parties now," said the local hero. "I've never known Monaco without F1, apart 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."

However, there's no denying that with each passing year, Monaco's 3.37 km narrow and twisty circuit seems less and less suitable to F1's evolving machinery.

As for modifying the track's design, with space at a premium in the Principality, configuration changes to improve overtaking appear very difficult to achieve.

"I thought about it sometimes, whether it will improve a lot overtaking," said Leclerc. "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."

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