Proposed Imola deal could save Italian Grand Prix
Hosting rights may now be alternated between Monza and the former San Marino GP venue
It has been suggested that the Italian Grand Prix could rotate between Monza and Imola from 2017 onwards. The Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari hosted the Italian Grand Prix in 1980, and then the San Marino Grand Prix from 1981 to 2006. With Monza struggling to secure a deal with F1 tsar Bernie Ecclestone after its current contract expires at the end of 2016, Imola track bosses have met with Ecclestone and proposed that it alternates with Monza. The deal would be similar to the one under which Hockenheim and the Nürburging shared the German GP, until it collapsed this year.
Ecclestone said: “It was Enzo Ferrari who suggested to me a race at Imola. It’s good to be speaking about it again. There are some good plans and the means to do it.
“Imola was a good experience, which could come back once the contract at Monza expires at the end of 2016. Imola is proposing to alternate with Monza. We could do that. I want to ensure Italy stays on the calendar.”
Monza rst hosted the Italian Grand Prix in 1922, and has done so ever since, aside from a break for World War II and a one-off absence in 1980 due to track refurbishment work. But Monza is struggling to raise the funds to secure a new deal after 2016, having failed to convince national and local government to help. Imola, by contrast, is said to have secured funding from private investors, but has sufcient monies to host the grand prix only every other year.
Imola is remembered as the track where Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna were killed at the 1994 San Marino GP. After that, the track was altered by the insertion of two chicanes to slow down the long, curving, at-out stretch where the accidents happened.
The venue was always popular, and its entry into negotiations has eased the concerns somewhat of those fearing for the future of the Italian Grand Prix.