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F1 NEWS 

Monza F1 race set to be dropped after 2016, according to Ecclestone

The future of the Italian Grand Prix at Monza is in doubt after Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone said on Tuesday that the event was likely to be dropped after 2016.

The venue has held the Italian GP every year since the world championship started in 1950, apart from 1980 when the event went to Imola.

But with talks set to begin soon about framing a new deal for when the current contract expires in two years' time, Ecclestone is unsure if a new deal will be done.

When asked by Gazzetta dello Sport about what the future of the Monza race looked like, Ecclestone said: "It's not good. I don't think we'll do another contract, as the old
one has been disastrous for us from a commercial point of view.

"So it's bye-bye after 2016."

Should Monza be unable to put in place a financial package that suits Ecclestone, one alternative that has been suggested is Mugello.

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo, whose company owns the track, has talked about wanting the Italian GP switched there.

But Ecclestone said there had been no discussions about that.

"No, I haven't received any proposal," he said.

ITALIAN TV RATINGS NOT HELPING

One factor that may make it hard for Italian GP organisers to put in place a commercial package is the fact that television ratings in the country have dropped alarmingly.

Ecclestone suggest that Ferrari's disappointing form in 2014 explains why Italian audiences have switched off.

"TV ratings are lower in Italy than elsewhere," he said.

"TV channels have split with digital broadcasting, and there's also Twitter, Facebook and other communication means, so young people are more distracted.

"How to improve Italian ratings? If Ferrari started to end up first and second in qualifying and races... TV ratings would improve everywhere. Ferrari is worldwide passion."

Translation by Michele Lostia

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