Monza set to keep Italian GP despite Imola getting F1 race contract

Bernie Ecclestone has agreed terms for Imola to host a Formula 1 race, but the Italian Grand Prix is still likely to remain at Monza

Monza set to keep Italian GP despite Imola getting F1 race contract

Ecclestone previously cited the political impasse surrounding a new contract for Monza as a major stumbling block in the long-running saga of Italy's place on the F1 calendar, and has confirmed to Autosport an agreement is now in place with Imola.

But Angelo Sticchi Damiani, president of Italian motorsport's governing body the Automobile Club d'Italia, claims the issues hanging over Monza have been removed and hopes a conclusion can swiftly be reached with Formula One Management.

The Imola contract will be irrelevant if the ACI completes the Monza deal.

"We have finally solved all the problems there were with the territorial entities - the region [of Lombardy], the cities of Milan and Monza, and the Park Authority," Sticchi Damiani told Gazzetta dello Sport.

"We have found an agreement between ACI Milan and SIAS [which owns Monza through the ACI], and we are preparing a binding offer to be sent to FOM.

"At this point there are no more political problems."

The vice-president of the Lombardy region, Fabrizio Sala, claims his department is providing €5million per year to help "close the contract".

Sala added: "We are pleased the president of the ACI has clarified there is no political problem, and a binding offer is to be sent to FOM.

"We hope we quickly arrive at a conclusion. The Italian GP is Monza, is part of our tradition, and we cannot allow it to go away."

Ecclestone claims he has done all he can, and despite having a deal in place with Imola, which last hosted the San Marino GP in 2006, the fact Sticchi Damiani is such a staunch supporter of Monza makes a change of venue less likely.

"We've now an agreement [with Imola] there that's ready to go," Ecclestone told Autosport.

"But we've a guy there that's saying 'Either we do things my way, or not at all', so when people say that you know what the answer is going to be.

"He must do what he thinks is the right thing to do, and if we don't have a race in Italy it won't be because of me.

"He has a contract, and all that is required is a signature. As I've said before, he has to get a pen and sign.

"They're good deals for them. They can please themselves."

Ecclestone confirmed that even if a race at Imola took the San Marino GP tag again rather than being the Italian GP, it would still have to be signed off by Sticchi Damiani.

"They [Imola] have signed their contract, but I cannot sign off on my side because the ACI is unwilling to sign on its part," added Ecclestone.

"And wherever we race, be it Imola or Monza, it needs to be sanctioned by him anyway, whatever you call it."

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Author Ian Parkes
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