The Mayor of Imola, Daniele Manca, has said the town is in talks with Formula One chief executive Bernie Ecclestone to secure the future of the Italian Grand Prix, if current host Monza is unable to strike a deal for a new race contract.
Monza’s current contract for the Italian GP expires following the 2016 event and concern has been building that the motor racing series could lose a race in one of its most historic markets. Ecclestone has repeatedly stated that he wants Monza to pay a similar race fee as other European venues in order for it to continue on the calendar from 2017 onwards.
Monza 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. The Emilia-Romagna town’s Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari last hosted Formula One in the shape of the San Marino Grand Prix in 2006, before circuit redevelopment took place the following year.
Manca met with Ecclestone in London on Monday and he told the Motorsport.com website: “We wanted to show Ecclestone how willing Imola was to get Formula One 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.”
Manca’s delegation also included Uberto Selvatico Estense, president of Formula Imola, and Stefano Manara, president of the CON.AMI organisation. The Mayor added: “Bernie told us that he never wanted to go away from Imola – and he must remember that Enzo Ferrari originally asked him to organise a grand prix on our circuit.
“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 F1 back to Imola. The target is 2017.”