ACI president Angelo Sticchi Damiani has ruled Imola returning to the F1 calendar, despite concerns over the future of the Italian Grand Prix in Monza.
Monza’s contract with Formula 1 expires after the current season, with organisers yet to agree terms with Bernie Ecclestone for an extension beyond this year.
Ecclestone also suggested that Imola could possibly replace Monza, but Damiani is convinced that the latter will be the venue of choice for the Italian Grand Prix.
"Monza because in the Italian financial law it is written that the grand prix should be Monza, not Imola,” Damiani explained.
"The involvement of the Automobile Club of Italy, who is involved directly in the running of the grand prix starting next year, is for an Italian Grand Prix running in Monza, not in Imola. This is a new law, a financial law, that was approved at the beginning of the year.”
Damiani also admitted that contract negotiations over Monza have proved difficult so far, but is close to putting pen to paper after holding talks with Ecclestone in Monaco.
“Let’s say it is a difficult negotiation,” he said. “It is the first time in Italy that it takes a burden to organise a Formula One grand prix with significant funds.
“In Monte Carlo we found many common points with [Bernie] Ecclestone. There are things that still have to be defined, but I dare say we are very close to an agreement despite some actions which have not helped the negotiations. Quite the opposite, it has made it difficult,’’ he added.
by Rachit Thukral