Pro­posed Imola deal could save Ital­ian Grand Prix

F1 Racing - - INSIDER -

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 sufcient 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.

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