APRIL 21, 1997
Bernie lines up Imola until 2001
SAGIS rents the Autodromo Enzo & Dino Ferrari from the Imola local authority and runs events at the track on behalf of the Automobile Club of Bologna.
The deal with Imola is the latest in a series of new five-year deals which have been put in place in recent months by Ecclestone as he prepares for the privatization of his Formula 1 Holdings company.
The number of solid deals for the next five years may give the sport a secure future, but it makes life more difficult for FIA President Max Mosley who was elected on the platform of making the World Championship a more global series and less concentrated in Europe. This he has singularly failed to do and with long-term deals in place the only way the series can become more global is to increase the number of races - which the teams do not want. Mosley faces re-election as FIA President in October this year and will, no doubt, be pushing Ecclestone to have a calendar for 1998 by then - featuring several new races outside Europe.
The announcement is bad news for Ferrari, which has been campaigning for a Grand Prix to be held at its Mugello facility near Florence as both Monza - home of the Italian GP - and Imola now have five-year contracts with Ecclestone.