Site logo

Imola boss fears for F1's historical venues

NEWS STORY
24/01/2015

Imola boss Pietro Benvenuti admits his fears for the future of F1 in its European heartland.

Of this year's twenty scheduled Grands Prix, only eight will take place in Europe, traditionally the heartland of the sport. Of course, that's assuming the German Grand Prix still goes ahead.

To add insult to injury, next year sees Azerbaijan added to the calendar, and despite the fact that many perceive it as being in south western Asia, over a thousand miles east of Istanbul - which marks the historical point where Asia meets Europe - will host the Grand Prix of Europe, a race previously held by circuits such as Brands Hatch, Donington, the Nurburgring and Jerez. You know, tracks actually in Europe.

The fact that Bernie Ecclestone connives to have new additions to the calendar scheduled in order to maximise the TV audience in Europe is clear proof that - despite the sport's seeming best efforts - the fan-base remains strong. Which poses the obvious question, 'why is F1 forsaking its traditional heartland?'

The answer is just as obvious. Money.

Fact is, being in private hands and with no government backing, or any other kind of benefactor, the European circuits are struggling. Ever rising fees mean that ticket prices are high which means that, certainly in these difficult times, less fans are able to afford them.

No such problems for many of those new additions to the calendar, where wealthy governments are falling over themselves in order to have the 'prestige' that F1 will afford them.

Clearly not having learned the lessons of India or Korea, to name but two, governments continue to fall for Bernie's snake oil, confident that F1 will finally put them on the map and have the world's beautiful people banging a path to their door.

It's a prospect that frightens Pietro Benvenuti, the general director at Imola, a circuit forever linked with the horrors of 1994, but which between 1981 and 2006 hosted a number of great Grands Prix.

"Currently, there are no capable venues to afford the costs to host a Formula One race without the support of governments or wealthy sponsors," he told Italy's f1web.it.

"I think the entire F1 world must be changed, taking into account that the economic conditions have changed," he warned. "Otherwise, the risk is in losing the historical venues which created the myth of the sport."

Of his own country's round of the championship, which is also under threat, he said: "Italy cannot lose its Grand Prix. Though clearly, the situation is very tough."

Whilst there is talk that Monza is now considering the prospect of life without F1, fearing that the cash demands will drain it of resources for other forms of racing, Benvenuti revealed that the sport could still consider Imola.

"Last June, Charlie Whiting inspected the circuit. He confirmed a Grade 1 license until June 2017. This means the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari complies with all the technical requirements to host any FIA race, including Formula 1."

Sadly, whilst it might meet all the technical requirements for F1, the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, like so many others in Europe, cannot come anywhere close to matching the financial resources of the likes of Azerbaijan or Qatar.

Interestingly, while Ferrari enjoys numerous privileges due to its 'historic 'status', no such luxury is afforded circuits, some of which have were hosting motor racing long before the Scuderia came into existence.

Chris Balfe

LATEST NEWS

more news >

RELATED ARTICLES

LATEST IMAGES

galleries >

  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images

POST A COMMENT

or Register for a Pitpass ID to have your say

Please note that all posts are reactively moderated and must adhere to the site's posting rules and etiquette.

Post your comment

READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by The stogie, 30/01/2015 1:11

"Once the oil patch runs dry Bernie will have to come back to Europe. With $45/barrel pricing it might just be sooner rather than later. Bernie must love going to a venue with a handful of spectators and several camels the only ones in attendance. F1 is no longer about the sport - now it's ALL about the money!! Sad."

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by Paul C, 26/01/2015 20:32

"Like the F5000 circuit idea. Broadcast it so F1 fans in the USA can see it and hear real race cars, not just overheated hybrids. "

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

3. Posted by KoosOos, 26/01/2015 11:45

"I do not see it as Bernies fault. If a country does not want to pay for it and there is another country that is willing to pay for it then it is the country's fault and not Bernies. The other country's sees the value in it and if your country does not see value to hold the race then it is not his fault."

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

4. Posted by karel, 26/01/2015 6:33

"Why just don't start an alternative circuit only on historical tracks, 3l engines, .. and back to the old days of racing. Steering and power. ?"

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

5. Posted by Kiwikaze, 25/01/2015 23:14

"I have a cunning plan.
Here in NZ we have heaps of older F5000 cars. In Europe you have heaps of traditional GP circuits.
Either we shift Europe to NZ or NZ to Europe, either way, what a pairing!"

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

6. Posted by Paul C, 25/01/2015 20:38

"Baku isn't in Europe. Why not run a GP of Asia in Macau if you want a procession street race near a tourist trap?"

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

7. Posted by TokyoAussie, 25/01/2015 14:30

"Bernie's job isn't to promote F1, although it almost certainly should be. His job is to maximise CVC's profits. CVC being the group that does absolutely sweet FA for the sport. I can no longer justify the expense to go to a Grand Prix event for myself. Taking my kid is impossible. That's bank loan territory. The chase for the maximum dollar is, at best, unseemly. "Raping the sport" isn't outside the bounds of fair criticism."

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

8. Posted by MrShadow, 25/01/2015 13:52 (moderated by an Adminstrator, 25/01/2015 13:54)

"This comment was removed by an administrator as it was judged to have broken the site's posting rules and etiquette."

Rating: Neutral (0)

9. Posted by Editor, 25/01/2015 12:35 (moderated by an Adminstrator, 25/01/2015 13:58)

"@MrShadow

You are of course factually correct.

However, how many of us really think of Baku as being in Europe? Espcailly when most of Europe is covered by 1 hour in terms of time zones, whilst Baku is 3 hours behind much of Europe."

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

10. Posted by MrShadow, 25/01/2015 12:20

"GordonW I was expecting this comeback. However the point is that a circuit being permanent or not does not influence how good or bad it is. Other things like the width of the track and opportunities of passing play a role, just like the track being mixed in nature in order not to emphasize the qualities of the cars.
A good track challenges both driver and car.
As for TV spectacle, due to the horrific rules where every single contact during passing creates an investigation ad possible punishment, combined with the aerodynamics that make it hard to stay close, do not expect too much changes."

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

11. Posted by Hondawho?, 25/01/2015 7:48 (moderated by an Adminstrator, 25/01/2015 13:58)

"F1 is becoming an anachronism. There will be, there always is, something new to take its place. The obvious opportunity for "European circuits" will be to watch for that new challenge and grasp it with both hands. There is nothing else they can do. "

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

12. Posted by GordonW, 24/01/2015 21:39 (moderated by an Adminstrator, 25/01/2015 13:58)

"MrShadow, I think your information is some decades out of date. Part of the Spa Francorchamps circuit used to be on public roads (and was therefore sometimes referred to as a "road circuit" or "open road circuit" but certainly not a "street circuit" as it is not in a built-up area). These days no part of the circuit is used for normal road traffic so it is referred to only as a racing circuit."

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

13. Posted by MrShadow, 24/01/2015 20:28

"GordonW technically speaking Spa is also a street circuit. As are Melbourne and Montreal. Howeve any Tilke-drome must be better...
"

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

14. Posted by GordonW, 24/01/2015 17:29 (moderated by an Adminstrator, 25/01/2015 13:58)

"Baku IS in Asia - whether or not some EU official has decided to declare it is "part of the EU" or "a potential member of the EU" or some other claptrap. More importantly, the "European" Grand Prix in Baku is yet ANOTHER street circuit - does Bernie want to bore the F1 audience to death? Street circuits virtually always provide DULL processional races with little or no chance to overtake. I appreciate that drivers relish the challenges of Monaco with the absolute precision needed on that circuit - but the likes of Valencia (thankfully dumped), Sochi, Singapore merely send in-person and TV spectators to sleep..... zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz"

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

15. Posted by MrShadow, 24/01/2015 15:02

"Azerbejdjan is member of the OSCE and Council of Europe. The geopgraphical location puts it at the border of Europe and Western Asia. Contrary to what many people seem to think, Europe does not stop east of the Bosporus. It does stop south of the Bosporus, but to the east it runs until the Ural mountains in the East and Caucasus mountains in the South. Looking at geography, Donington is as much on the borders of Europe as Baku.
"

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

Share this page

X

Copyright © Pitpass 2002 - 2019. All rights reserved.

about us  |  advertise  |  contact  |  privacy & security  |  rss  |  terms