Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc says Formula 1 dropping the Monaco Grand Prix would be a “bad move”.
F1 owner Liberty Media is assessing how to grow the sport and Monaco is one of several races said to be under threat, along with equally historic Belgium.
Leclerc, who is from Monaco and has lived there all his life, said: “It would be a bad move for both parties.
“I have never known Monaco without F1 apart from Covid reasons in 2020 and F1 without Monaco for me is not F1.”
Monaco is close to a sell-out for this year’s race, but it holds a relatively small crowd because of the limited space in the town – at 68,000 for the weekend, when some races top 400,000 – and it pays what is believed to be the smallest fee.
Liberty is facing pressure to fit more races into the calendar, including the new event in Las Vegas next year, while not expanding the calendar too much.
But Leclerc said its place on the schedule should be set in stone.
“F1 has some historic tracks like Silverstone and Monza – and Monaco, too,” Leclerc said. “And they should stay on the calendar.
“Monaco is one of the best tracks out there, in terms of qualifying there are no places I enjoy as much here, and where the driver can make as much difference.
“The races are so close. The danger, you can still feel it because you really have the sensation of speed and in terms of qualifying it is probably the most exciting of the year.
“I agree in the races there are maybe some things we could change here and there to help overtaking. But in terms of challenge for the drivers it is one of the toughest challenges of the year.”
The 24-year-old, who is from Monaco, has never finished a race in his home town during his entire career.
And he needs a win on Sunday after losing the championship lead to rival Max Verstappen in Spain last weekend.
Leclerc has seen a 46-point lead after the third race of the season turn into a six-point deficit after a difficult run in the last three races, culminating in an engine failure while dominating in Spain last weekend.
But he says his record on the track does not concern him.
“I don’t think about it,” he said. “It’s not been the luckiest track for me overall, but it’s life. It happens. It’s part of motorsports, and sometimes things just don’t go your way, and hopefully this year will.
“But I’ll just take the same approach as I’ve done in the first few races of 2022. Because it’s been successful until now, and hopefully it will be successful here at home.”
Lelcerc was on pole in Monaco last year despite it being a season in which the team were not generally competitive, and he said he was confident that Ferrari would have the pace to compete for victory this weekend.
“I honestly don’t feel the pressure,” he said. “I’m just very happy to be here to be back on this amazing track. I love it here and it’s a very special event for me having grown up here. And these roads I’ve known so well since being born.
“There is no added pressure. I know the performance is in the car for us to do a good result this weekend. And I just have to get in the car and do the job and hopefully the results will be there at the end of the weekend.”