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FEBRUARY 10, 2004

Imola authorities refuse to give up

The mayor of Imola Massimo Marchignoli says that it is not certain that the San Marino Grand Prix will be removed from the Formula 1 calendar in 2005 and says that he intends to negotiate to save the race with Formula One group boss Bernie Ecclestone. Ecclestone recently said that after this year's event the race would no longer happen.

Marchignoli has been mayor of Imola since 1999 but his efforts to secure funding from regional and national bodies have not been successful despite support for his efforts from the Automobile Club of Italy as the local authority and SAGIS, the company which owns the track, cannot raise the money needed to do the safety work needed to keep the Grand Prix.

Imola has been on the F1 calendar since 1980 but with increasing legislation in Europe and Imola's inability to raise the cash needed, the race has become a victim as non-European races bid for dates in 2005 and beyond. If The Italians can come up with money to do the work and pay as much as the non-European events it is possible that Imola might survive but that does not look very likely to happen in the current economic climate.