Monaco Grand Prix organizers have said they are unmoved by comments from Bernie Ecclestone suggesting Formula 1 "could do without" the prestigious event, after confirming that talks are ongoing about a new deal.
Ecclestone's claim in an interview last week that F1 could survive without Monaco because the event "did not pay enough" drew widespread media coverage, although such throwaway remarks are a standard tactic used by the sport's commercial boss to raise the stakes during contract talks. The story where the comments were made also made it clear that Ecclestone did not expect the event to the dropped.
The Automobile Club de Monaco has responded to the resulting media storm with a statement stating it has no need to get dragged into a war of words, and will await the completion of its contractual discussions before making any announcement about future plans.
"The Automobile Club de Monaco does not wish to comment on the statement given by Mr. Ecclestone relating to the future of the Monaco Formula 1 grand prix," said a statement on the ACM's official website. "Assuming that this information is verified by Mr. Ecclestone and the media where it was reported, one must still understand the context under which such sentiments were made.
"The reality is much simpler: a negotiation is ongoing between the Automobile Club de Monaco and Formula One Management. In time, the Automobile Club will not fail to communicate the signing of an agreement."