F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has said that Rome could host a round of the World Championship by 2013, providing certain conditions are met.
In a letter to the Italian capital's Mayor, Gianni Alemanno, Ecclestone wrote: "Rome is a unique setting. I have spoken to Maurizio Flammini and I could give it a race by 2013 under certain conditions. I am also ready to provide the necessary support to take the event to your city."
Flammini, a former F2 driver and World Superbike promoter, is the man currently working on the project. While Alemanno has set up a promotional committee under Senator Andrea Augello to look at feasibility and benefits of the event.
"I'm quite confident we'll be able to give the green light," Augello told Reuters on Friday. "We're not at that point yet because it's a complicated matter and it's a delicate moment from an economic viewpoint. But I'm optimistic."
Mayor Alemanno is also confident: "This willingness is very important," he said of Ecclestone's support for the project. "The negotiations will be beautiful, serious and complicated, almost as much as for an Olympics."
However, there many who remain critical, not least organizers at Monza who fear the Autodromo Nazionale could lose the Italian Grand Prix, and Luca di Montezemolo, President of FOTA and Ferrari who is adamant that any F1 event in Rome should be a one-off.