Prince Albert of Monaco has insisted that Formula 1 'cannot afford to lose' its major manufacturers like Ferrari and Renault over the FIA's controversial budget cap initiative – but he is optimistic that the ongoing row between the governing body and the sport's teams will not ultimately come to that.
Ferrari has threatened to end six decades of uninterrupted participation in the top flight – as the only team to have begun every single season since the official inception of the world championship in 1950 – should FIA President Max Mosley press ahead with a £40 million cap that the Scuderia
deems would be 'fundamentally unfair and perhaps even biased' in engendering a two-tier championship of haves and have-nots likely to penalise the larger and better-funded operations.
Along with Ferrari, Renault, Toyota and Red Bull have all equally menaced a withdrawal over the new regulations, but Prince Albert is optimistic that a compromise will be reached between the warring factions and that the Monaco Grand Prix – a race first run all the way back in 1929 – is in no danger of disappearing from the F1 calendar.
“I'm sure we cannot afford to lose teams like Ferrari or Renault,” he urged. “I think it would be such a bad image for the sport that I am sure a solution is going to be found.
“The economic impact [of holding a race in Monaco] can be measured in hundreds of millions of Euros. It is part of history, and should there be a change in regulations or in the sport's outlook on things, then we would all put up a big fight to try and keep the grand prix here. We are happy to work with the FIA and everyone involved in F1.”
Despite recent speculation that the race's promoter Michel Boeri will not seek a contract extension should Ferrari follow through with its pull-out threat – remarking that without the legendary Maranello-based outfit, F1 would be 'a catastrophe, like the Cannes Film Festival without the stars' – the sport's commercial rights-holder Bernie Ecclestone is adamant there is no fear of the most glamorous and prestigious event falling off the schedule.
“Monaco is a fixture on the F1 calendar,” the 78-year-old stressed, “and always will be if I have any say in the matter.”