Europe threat­ened?

Motor Sport News - - F1 Preview: Themes -

It seems ironic to be talk­ing about the fu­ture of F1’s great cir­cuits when we’re gear­ing up for a record-break­ing 21 races this year, but the re­al­ity is that some his­toric races still re­main un­se­cured.

There are doubts over the fu­tures of both the Ger­man and the Ital­ian grands prix be­yond 2016, and there is a real dan­ger two of the most sto­ried events in F1 could fol­low the French GP off the sched­ule.

With the Nur­bur­gring fail­ing to hon­our its half of the race-share deal with Hock­en­heim last sea­son, the Ger­man GP was canned – and that was a race that had been a sta­ple of the cham­pi­onship since 1961.

Hock­en­heim will host the event this sea­son, but the race’s fu­ture be­yond that is ques­tion­able, with fall­ing crowd num­bers and a seem­ingly col­lapsed ro­ta­tion deal lead­ing to ad­di­tional fi­nan­cial strain for pro­mot­ers. Bernie Ec­cle­stone has al­ready said a 2017 Ger­man GP won’t hap­pen.

Monza has an even greater his­tory, hav­ing staged the Ital­ian GP ev­ery year bar one since the world cham­pi­onship be­gan in 1950. But the venue’s cur­rent deal ex­pires this year, and talks over an ex­ten­sion have stalled due to the re­quire­ment to pro­vide fi­nances to im­prove the park cir­cuit’s fa­cil­i­ties. Ec­cle­stone also called Monza’s cur­rent deal “a com­mer­cial disas­ter”.

Au­to­mo­bile Club of Italy pres­i­dent An­gelo Stic­chi Damiani said ear­lier this year that a draft con­tract had been agreed, and had hoped for a fi­nal agree­ment by the end of Fe­bru­ary.

Ec­cle­stone said last month: “There’s no dead­line. They can take as long as they like, pro­vided it’s by the end of this month [Fe­bru­ary].”

There has still been no word.

Car: FW38 En­gine: Mercedes PU106C First GP: Ar­gentina 1975 Races: 649 Wins: 114 Poles: 128 Fastest laps: 133 Points: 3332 Driv­ers’ ti­tles: 7 Con­struc­tors’ ti­tles: 9

NUM­BER 19 FELIPE MASSA (BRA)

De­but: Aus­tralia 2002 Races: 229 Wins: 11 Poles: 16 Fastest laps: 15 Points: 1071 Driv­ers’ ti­tles:

NUM­BER 77 VALT­TERI BOT­TAS (FIN)

De­but: Aus­tralia 2013 Races: 56 Wins: 0 Poles: 0 Fastest laps: 1 Points: 326 Best re­sult:

Car: MP4-31 En­gine: Honda RA616H First GP: Monaco 1966 Races: 780 Wins: 182 Poles: 155 Fastest laps: 152 Points: 5040.5 Driv­ers’ ti­tle: 12 Con­struc­tors’ ti­tle: 8

NUM­BER 14 FER­NANDO ALONSO (ESP)

De­but: Aus­tralia 2001 Races: 252 Wins: 32 Poles: 22 Fastest laps: 21 Points: 1778 Driv­ers’ ti­tles: 2

NUM­BER 22 JEN­SON BUT­TON (GBR)

De­but: Aus­tralia 2000 Races: 284 Wins: 15 Poles: 8 Fastest laps: 8 Points: 1214 Driv­ers’ ti­tles:

Monza’s fu­ture isn’t se­cure yet

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