Monza and Imola could share Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix

Bernie Ecclestone is mulling over a proposal to alternate the Italian Grand Prix between Imola and Monza to ensure the fabled race remains on the Formula 1 calendar

Monza and Imola could share Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix

Ecclestone has held talks with representatives from both circuits over the past few weeks in the hope of saving the race.

Monza officials met with Ecclestone in Monaco, yet no viable plan was seemingly conceived to extend its contract beyond its expiry after next year's race.

Bosses from Imola, a circuit that last hosted F1 in 2006, spoke with Ecclestone on Monday and have suggested that as with Hockenheim and the Nurburgring in Germany in recent years, a possible rotation system with Monza.

Speaking to Gazzetta dello Sport, Ecclestone said: "Imola proposes an alternation with Monza. It can be done.

"I want Italy to stay on the F1 calendar at all costs, but while Imola has contacted me, I haven't heard anything from Monza for a month."

Ecclestone would appear to be losing patience with Monza, adding: "There is a will to save the Italian GP, but the money is lacking.

"The people I've spoken with haven't even asked me for some time in order to decide. We just left each other like that, hanging.

"It's useless to keep on talking. In order to have a grand prix, you need money. If the money is there, the race takes place."

DIETER RENCKEN on Imola and other classic European tracks

Ecclestone has indicated he would love to see the return of Imola, expressing an emotional point of view rarely seen from the 84-year-oold.

"How can I forget the town's participation, the joy on the faces of the tifosi, the enjoyment tied to that venue? Imola has kept a place in my heart," said Ecclestone.

"Imola was a nice experience that could live again, once Monza's contract expires at the end of 2016.

"Enzo Ferrari suggested to me the race there, just a stroll from Bologna. He cared for it very much.

"It's nice to talk about it again now, we have the good intentions, and the basis too."

Ecclestone, meanwhile, has seemingly ruled out another of Italy's circuits in Mugello, adding: "We return to the money problem.

"It's a shame, because Mugello is a fine circuit."

FIVE OF THE BEST IMOLA GRANDS PRIX

Imola's years as the home of the San Marino Grand Prix were marred by tragedies and controversies, but the track was also the scene of several epics and fairytale results.

1981: The Ferraris of Gilles Villeneuve and Didier Pironi take charge early in a wet/dry race but when Villeneuve guesses the weather wrong and Pironi's tyres fade, Nelson Piquet comes through to snatch the win.

Also featured Williams team-mates Alan Jones and Carlos Reutemann colliding, plus Riccardo Patrese in the victory hunt for Arrows.

1983: A year after Pironi's controversial betrayal of Villeneuve at Imola in what turned out to be the Canadian's final race, his friend Patrick Tambay takes the #27 Ferrari to a home victory - but only after Patrese inexplicably crashes his Brabham out of the lead with five laps to go.

1985: A crazy race of high attrition and fuel-consumption dramas ends with Ayrton Senna's Lotus and Stefan Johansson's Ferrari (up from 15th on the grid) running dry while leading.

Alain Prost's McLaren coasts over the line first only to be disqualified for running underweight, so Elio de Angelis gets the win for Lotus ahead of Thierry Boutsen's lapped Arrows - which he had to push past the flag as it too ran out of fuel.

1990: Senna loses his brakes while leading, Boutsen buzzes his Williams's engine when leading, Nigel Mansell catches a 360-degree spin at Tamburello while battling Gerhard Berger for the lead, before Patrese ultimately defeats Berger to win seven years on from his 1983 heartbreak.

2005: In the year of no tyre changes, Michael Schumacher's Bridgestones out-live Fernando Alonso's Michelins and the Ferrari hunts the Renault down despite a mistake in qualifying leaving the German only 13th on the grid.

But despite 20 laps of incessant pressure from Schumacher, Alonso hangs on to win by two tenths of a second.

Translation by Michele Lostia

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