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Imola targets 2008 F1 return

Imola Mayor Massimo Marchignoli is optimistic the San Marino Grand Prix will return to the Formula One calendar after next year's absence.

The Italian track was left out of the 2007 calendar, which will have 17 rounds, one less than in 2006.

Marchignoli claims that F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone, who told him there was no chance that the race would take place in 2007, has promised the event will be back in 2008 if the revamp works are completed.

"Ecclestone gave me his guarantee that when the works are finished, in 2008, F1 will be back," Marchignoli was quoted as saying by Gazzetta dello Sport.

"In order to have the GP back the management will have to change, and Sagis' contract expires on 31 December. Then a new company will be nominated through a public bid opened to the world, with the decision down to the town council.

"The choice will be based on the projects, the ideas, the financial resources, and we'll get in contact with everyone, including Ecclestone. I'm moderately optimistic about the return of F1; the important thing is to rebuild a situation that satisfies Bernie."

The works to modernize the circuit have already began, with the old pits complex demolished on Sunday.

Eight out of the 10 million Euro received by the Italian government to finance the works will be used to rebuild a new 380-metre-wide pit complex, which will include offices and race control over a three-story building.

The complex will be built closer to the Rivazza corner, with the chicane ahead of the start/finish line being straightened and new grandstands built.

The inauguration of the revamped circuit is expected to be at the end of May next year.

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