Italian GP share a "last resort", says Monza boss

23/06/2015
NEWS STORY

The President of the organisation that runs the Monza circuit says sharing Italian GP with Imola would be a “last resort”.

With fans already deserting the sport, news that the legendary Autodromo Nazionale Monza might follow other iconic tracks that have slipped from the calendar, appears to be further conclusive proof that F1 has lost its way.

In short, the Italian circuit which has hosted the country's round of the championship every year, bar one, since its inception, needs to negotiate a new deal with Bernie Ecclestone, its current contract running out in 2016.

However, like many (European) tracks which have to pay their own way, Monza is already struggling and is unlikely to be able to meet the tough financial demands of the new deal.

The idea of Italy, a country which is in the sport's DNA, slipping from the calendar seems unthinkable, but we said that about France, whilst Germany is missing this year, as was Belgium a few years back... and let's not forget the years of threats concerning the British Grand Prix.

Whilst the ACI Milan (Automobile Club Italia), which runs Monza, is looking at ways to meet FOM's demands, Ecclestone having said the current contract is a (financial) disaster, there has been talk in recent weeks of the race moving to Imola, formerly host of the San Marino Grand Prix, and in 1980 the Italian Grand Prix, or even alternating the race between the two circuits, as has happened in Germany in recent years.

In recent weeks Ecclestone has met with officials from Imola and it is understood it is the mayor of the city who first suggested sharing the race with Monza.

In Austria at the weekend, Ecclestone was giving little away.

"Yeah, maybe we will be back to Imola, let's see," he told Reuters. "We want to keep Italy. I'd like to get Germany back," he added.

Ivan Capelli, President of ACI Milan, which controls the Monza track through its track management company (SIAS), said: "We respect others' work and projects. Presently, we, ACI Milan and SIAS, are working hard to renew the contract with FOM which expires in 2016.

"Our goal is to keep the Italian GP in Monza," he continued, "and we can't help considering that in 2022 we will celebrate the centennial of the track."

Of the race-share with Imola, he said: "As of today we didn't get any official communication from Imola about such plans; nevertheless, the rotation to which they make reference has always been a bad strategy: therefore, what will be needed is a totally new approach in implementing this strategy, that frankly I can't see today.

"(However), we are sportsman and the interest of (the) sport comes first in our minds," he added, "should the rotation be the last possible resort, at that point we should at least consider it."

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Published: 23/06/2015
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