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ACI lines up extension for F1’s Italian Grand Prix

Italian motorsport’s governing body, the Automobile Club d’Italia (ACI), has said it has reached an agreement in principle for a five-year extension to its race deal for the Italian Grand Prix, while Zandvoort is reportedly being lined up to replace Barcelona on the Formula One calendar and Silverstone has moved to reject claims it has struck a fresh deal for the British GP.

The Monza circuit is currently one of five F1 venues, along with Barcelona, Silverstone, Hockenheim and Mexico City, whose deals with the motor-racing championship are due to expire at the end of the current 2019 season.

However, the ACI today (Tuesday) issued a statement stating an agreement in principle has been reached with Formula One on a new deal that would run from 2020 to 2024. It added: “The general council of the Automobile Club d’Italia has therefore given a mandate to president Angelo Sticchi Damiani to continue the negotiation with Formula One on all the technical and commercial aspects related to the partnership, in order to reach, in a short time, the signing of the contract and make the collaboration fully operational.”

Located on the outskirts of Milan, Monza is a historic part of F1. It has staged every edition of Italy’s round of the F1 world championship since the series’ formation in 1950, with the exception of the 1980 event, which was held at Imola. However, it’s place on the calendar has been continually in question with multiple challenges having been faced before its current race deal was signed in November 2016.

Meanwhile, Motorsport.com has reported that the promoter of Circuit Zandvoort in the Netherlands reached an agreement with Formula One at the weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix to return to the calendar from 2020, subject to final details being agreed.

The report comes after the Dutch Sports Council (NLsportraad) last month said Circuit Zandvoort needed to secure significant financial support from the private sector if it was to succeed in returning F1 to the Netherlands next year.

NLsportraad provided an update on the situation after Zandvoort, which is located on the Dutch coast, signed a letter of intent for the 2020 season with Formula One Management (FOM) on December 13.

Zandvoort hosted 30 Formula One races from 1952 to 1985. Formula One, and its owner Liberty Media, is keen to return the sport to the Netherlands to capitalise on the rising interest in Dutch star Max Verstappen. Motorsport.com said Barcelona’s Spanish Grand Prix is the most vulnerable to Zandvoort’s potential return after losing financial support for its race from the state.

Finally, Silverstone has moved to quash reports earlier today that it has sealed an extension to its deal for the British GP. In a statement, Silverstone said: “Unfortunately there is unsubstantiated news circulating this morning regarding the agreement of a new deal for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. At this time we can confirm that we have not agreed a contract, however talks are still progressing.”

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