MARCH 21, 2016

Imola is option for Italy GP future

The death knell is nearing for historic Monza's place on the F1 calendar, according to the latest reports from Italy.

Il Fatto Quotidiano reports that 2016 will be the last Italian grand prix to be held at the fabled Autodromo Nazionale, after negotiations with Bernie Ecclestone broke down terminally.

"There is no more room for negotiating," Italian automobile club (Aci) chief Angelo Sticchi Damiani is quoted as saying.

He added that "personal interests have prevailed", amid suggestions the F1 supremo fell out with the circuit operator Sias and demanded that Monza choose 'F1 or MotoGP' over ambitions to make modifications for motorcycle racing.

So the report said Ecclestone rejected Aci's final race fee offer of EUR 19 million, with Imola and Mugello now in the frame to take over the Italian grand prix.

But Sticchi Damiani was subsequently quoted by Correre della Sera newspaper as rejecting the suggestion that Monza's hopes are now definitely over.

"The negotiations on the future of the Italian grand prix continue," he said. "Monza is option A, although there are great difficulties."

'Option B', it seems, is a return to Imola, the popular Italian circuit that last hosted the San Marino grand prix in 2006.

"I have a clear mandate that the grand prix be in Italy, preferably in Monza," said Sticchi Damiani. "But if we cannot solve that, we have to do it a different way."