Imola offers to host 2020 F1 round in place of postponed Chinese GP

Imola has offered to host a Formula 1 round in place of April's postponed Chinese Grand Prix, though the circuit's boss acknowledges the bid could be "mission impossible"

Imola offers to host 2020 F1 round in place of postponed Chinese GP

The circuit has approached the Automobile Club of Italy president, Angelo Sticchi Damiani, about the possibility of staging a race should an opportunity arise.

Imola last hosted a world championship round under the San Marino Grand Prix name in 2006, but the management has never given up its ambitions to bring F1 back.

It lobbied to host the Italian GP in 2016 when there were some doubts over Monza's future.

Imola president Uberto Selvatico Estense insisted the venue is licensed for F1 cars and could be ready on time.

"It would be very difficult to arrange it, but the track is ready," he told Autosport.

"We can move very fast to host a grand prix as we did in the past.

"We would not be at our best, of course. But if it's necessary, we will move on with it.

"We've got the homologation for F1. The pit building is OK. I think we miss some parts of the hospitality, but we can organise it very quickly if necessary."

Despite his enthusiasm, Selvatico Estense acknowledged logistical and commercial issues could prove to be insurmountable.

"It's kind of a mission impossible," he said.

"But why not? Anything is possible if Liberty wants.

"I'm a dreamer! I always hoped that this opportunity would come. But it's very difficult, it's true."

In March 2011 the track stepped in at a late stage to host a round of the GP2 Asia series, replacing events that were lost when two weekends of racing in Bahrain were cancelled due to civil unrest.

But given the timeframe and the lack of time to sell tickets, Imola would not be able pay a representative European race-hosting fee, which may make the plan a non-starter for Liberty even without any logistical issues.

"It will not be possible to pay the same fee that others are paying," said Selvatico Estense.

"But it happened in a similar way in the past, with the GP2 series, when the promoter asked us to solve the problem. We reached an agreement and it was possible.

"When I spoke with Mr Sticchi Damiani he said it's not only a question of time, it's also a question of money.

"But we are facing a good time with the political situation. We have a new president of the region, Reggio Emilia [Giorgio Zanni, who was elected in October 2018].

"And we are talking about a very important sports event.

"So I think people will do their best effort, although I don't know if will be sufficient."

Selvatico Estense added that the traditional San Marino GP name could be revived if the race received the go-ahead.

"We have the opportunity to [use] the San Marino name, because I spoke in the past with those guys, and they agreed," he said.

"So I think it should not be a problem."

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