OCTOBER 27, 2006
The door is still open for Imola
The San Marino Grand Prix has been dropped from the Formula 1 calendar for 2007 - and there is now no hope of a reprieve. But that does not mean that the circuit could not make a new bid for a race in 2008, once work on the circuit has been completed. The Societa Allestimento Gestione Impiante e Servizi (SAGIS), a joint venture between the city of Imola and the Automobile Club di Bologna (ACB), rents the circuit from the city of Imola and has run operations there since 1978. In recent years SAGIS has struggled to fund the Grand Prix and although money has been raised for major reconstruction work to be done, including a big government grant, it seems that SAGIS cannot afford to pay the fees being demanded by the Formula One group, a common problem these days in Europe, where there is little or no government help for race organisers.
According to reports in Italy Imola mayor Massimo Marcignoli has recently visited Formula One company boss Bernie Ecclestone in London for discussions and has been told that there is nothing to stop Imola getting back on the F1 calendar in 2008 if the work has been done and a new organiser found. The city of Imola will now look to see if there is a suitable arrangement to be found with the interested parties, which could include other automobile clubs, regional authorities and even private investors. One possibility would be the Federazione Auto Motociclistica di San Marino, although this is tiny compared to the ACB, with only 400 licence-holders.
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