It was announced today that the Italian Grand Prix remains under threat as a meeting between bosses and F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone did not prove as conclusive as originally hoped.
The iconic race appeared to be saved when the Automobille Club of Italy’s Angelo Sticci Damiani said a new deal was in the offing after being able to agree terms and source finance to safeguard the race until 2020 or 2023.
Having been hopeful of a deal being reached by the end of February, a meeting between the two parties would prove inconclusive and a final agreement remains on the table. According to Autosport, the sticking point remains the upgrades, which are considered necessary to be guaranteed for the deal to go ahead.
With these long-term investments not able to be signed off as yet for the long-term guarantee required, a impasse has been reached in the negotiations.
Though it isn’t the to say the race, which is out of contract by the end of this year’s event, won’t go ahead, it is the latest set-back in what has been a difficult period for the Monza venue, which has hosted the Italian Grand Prix every year since 1950, save for the 1980 race, which was held at Imola.
The Monza GP track is considered one of the few remaining ‘iconic’ races on the calendar, with Monza’s loss has been protested by many drivers, not least Sebastian Vettel, who branded the threat to its as ‘bullshit’ in the wake of his first podium with Ferrari there.
But Imola is poised to potentially take the Italian Grand Prix slot after local government approved finances required to pay for the upgrades and the race fee. But even though I like Imola as a racetrack in its own right; I still feel that Monza is a crucial part of the calendar, with the teams and drivers who love the challenges of the track and most importantly the fans who feel connected to the track; given its history in the sport.
We simply cannot afford to lose Monza from the calendar as if we did, we would lose an prestigious, unique and challenging track that has been a crucial part of the sport since the 1950’s and the fans wouldn’t be too happy about it either.