JUNE 16, 2015
Circuit alternation could save Italian GP
Imola has emerged in the running to return to formula one.
Currently, the future of the Italian grand prix at historic Monza is under a cloud, as F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone demands a higher annual race fee.
And now, another Italian circuit - the former long-time San Marino grand prix venue Imola - has suddenly emerged in the running to return to the calendar.
It follows a meeting at Ecclestone's London office on Monday between the 84-year-old Briton and Daniele Manca, who is the mayor of the town of Imola.
The specialist Italian publications Autosprint and Omnicorse each published separate photographs of the meeting, which was also attended by other Italian officials.
"We wanted to show to Ecclestone the will of the town of Imola to get back to formula one," mayor Manca said, "but above all to do our part to keep a grand prix in Italy."
The last grand prix held at Imola was in 2006.
Manca admitted one idea is an "alternation between different (Italian) national circuits", with the Ferrari-linked media insider Leo Turrini speculating that F1 could switch between Monza, Imola and Ferrari-owned Mugello.
Manca continued: "Ecclestone told us that he never wanted to lose Imola, and that it was in fact Enzo Ferrari who asked him first to organise a race at our circuit."
He said the current discussions are about the 2017 season, which would coincide with the end of Monza's existing contract.
Rob La Salle, the correspondent for Speed Week, wondered: "Is this just a question of him (Ecclestone) putting pressure on Monza?"