It has been heavily rumoured in the paddock that the iconic Imola race track has thrown its hat in the ring to replace Monza as venue of the Italian Grand Prix.
The future of the Italian GP is in doubt as Monza’s contract with the sport’s commercial rights holder runs out after the 2016 campaign and promoters are not very hopeful of securing a new deal.
F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has also admitted he doesn’t care if the race drops off the calendar if they fail to meet his financial requirements. However, the country has been given fresh hope with officials from Imola, who last hosted a Formula 1 race in 2006, revealing they have held discussions with Ecclestone.
The mayor Daniele Manca, who met the F1 boss along with Uberto Selvatico Estense, President of Formula Imola, and Stefano Manara, President of CON.AMI, says they presented a good plan. In an interview with the media, Manca stated the following about the situation:-
‘We wanted to show Ecclestone how willing Imola was to get Formula 1 back – but also do our part to keep the Grand Prix in Italy. We presented our plan to relaunch the circuit, outline the investments we have made and what we plan to do in the coming years with our infrastructure.’
It is clear that they are making attempts of showing Ecclestone in order to host the Grand Prix and keeping it in Italy for the foreseeable future. By making plans to relaunch the circuit, getting the investment needed to do that and also sustaining it is important for them even if they cannot manage to get back into F1 as planned.
Further on in his interview, Manca has added that should they reach an agreement then Imola will be back on the calendar in 2017 and Manca feels they will be ready. Manca added the following:-
‘There are issues to sort out – and one factor is obviously the economy. But Ecclestone has agreed to check the timeframe and conditions under which it would be possible to get Formula 1 back to Imola. The target is 2017.’
Manca is correct in what he has stated in his interview by stating that there are issues for them to sort out and it depends on the economy. As the economy right now isn’t stable and it is hard to get funding at the moment that is needed in order to host the event and also to sustain in the future.
Overall, even though Ecclestone is now in talks with Imola is see if they can return to the grid in 2017 and replace Monza as the Italian GP, I see problems ahead. Firstly, Monza has been the home of the Italian GP since 1950 and with that; carries the prestige, the history and also a great track that many enjoy watching and the drivers enjoy racing.
Then you’ve got the tifosi who will want a track on the calendar in order to see their beloved team and cheer the drivers on. Personally, I’m not sure what track they would like to see but if they see their home Grand Prix axed from the calendar, let’s hope Bernie can deal with the aftermath of a country that is known for its hot headed passion about the sport.
Many would be upset that Imola would be replacing Monza; but if that is the only way for the Italian GP to remain on the calendar, so be it. I wouldn’t be happy myself as I believe that both circuits have the potential to be on the calendar in their own right and that is something I would like to see.
But all we can do is see what happens in the next few months and where the Italian Grand Prix will be held in the near future. Will we see Imola back on the calendar? I’d like it to be in its own right.