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FEBRUARY 23, 2006

Imola looking for cash to complete F1 work

The Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari at Imola is to undergo a major rebuild later this year in order to bring it up to modern Formula 1 standards. The work will begin in the autumn and will be completed in time for the San Marino Grand Prix in 2007. The funding for the project will come largely from the Italian government, which has agreed to pay $12m but even this will not be enough for the work needed and Imola's mayor Massimo Marchignoli says he is hoping that the additional costs can be covered by the regional authorities of Emilia-Romagna but it seems as though SAGIS (the company that runs the circuit) will have to find something in the region of $5m to complete all the work being requested.

The biggest change to the circuit will be the eradication of the chicane before the pits known as the Variante Bassa. This will mean that F1 cars will be flat from the exit of the Rivazza corner down to Tamburello, a distance of around 1000m. There will be a new pit complex, featuring 30 garages and a new media centre, complete with a suitably-sized paddock. This will be located on the outside of the circuit closer to Rivazza, where there is more room available between the race track and the Santerno River, which runs behind the current paddock. The intention is for there to be a new bridge across the river at this point to improve access to the track.

Imola currently has a contract to stage the San Marino Grand Prix until 2009 but has an ultimatum to improve its facilities or face being dropped from the World Championship.