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Liberty: Nice GP not designed to pressure Monaco F1 race

Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei insists that talk of moving the French Grand Prix to the city of Nice is not a way of putting pressure on Monaco for a future spot on the Formula 1 calendar.

Daniel Ricciardo demonstration on the streets of Nice, France

F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali recently revealed that Nice has indicated an interest in holding the race after the current deal with Paul Ricard runs out.

At the same time F1 is in negotiations with Monaco over an improved future deal.

The principality not only pays the lowest fee of any event, it also creates its own broadcast as well as retaining the rights to put up circuit signage for its own sponsors.

A clash between official F1 partner Rolex and Monaco’s own TAG Heuer deal is a source of considerable frustration to Liberty.

Many see Domenicali’s revelation of the Nice bid as a way of putting pressure on Monaco with the clear implication that F1 could put on a street race just a few miles down the coast.

However, Maffei insisted that highlighting the Nice bid wasn’t a negotiating tactic.

"No, we just want to have great races, that's what we want,” he told Motorsport.com. "We always look, there are a lot of people interested in holding a race, and we look at the alternatives."

Asked if Liberty and F1 were playing hardball with Monaco over a future deal, he denied that was the case.

"I dispute that characterisation. I think Monaco has the best deal of any track on the calendar. They may deserve it. But there are certain things that need to be consistent with everybody else.

"We think Monaco is a special place, a wonderful place. But, you know, fairness says there are certain things that should be everywhere."

Regarding the clash of watch brands, he noted: "We try to protect our sponsors."

A view of Monaco track

A view of Monaco track

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Maffei said recently that F1 may follow the Las Vegas model and become involved as a promoter at some “traditional” events. However, he denied that Monaco could fall under such a deal.

“I think what I said was, we're going to try this, it has potential, we could be sponsors somewhere else. We have no current plans. But it's an interesting model.

"First we're going to see if we can be successful in Las Vegas. If we were going to pick another place, I'm not sure that [Monaco] is where I would start for us to be where we add as much value. I think there are other places where we could be more positive."

Asked if Spa was an example of a venue that needed a promotional boost, he said: " There’s nothing in mind yet. I think a lot of our promoters have stepped up their game and a lot have done things to improve the facilities and make it a better experience.

“And we welcome that, and where we can be helpful, we'd like to be.”

Meanwhile, Maffei is optimistic that a deal can be concluded to run a South African GP in Kyalami, with an April 2023 date understood to be likely.

"We'll see. We try to say we race on every continent where people have cars. We're trying, we haven't gotten there yet. But we're trying. I think things set up well there.”

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