Formula 1
Formula 1
29 Aug
-
01 Sep
Event finished
05 Sep
-
08 Sep
Event finished
19 Sep
-
22 Sep
Event finished
26 Sep
-
29 Sep
Event finished
10 Oct
-
13 Oct
Event finished
Motorsport Blog
Topic

Motorsport Blog

Analysis: How much threat is there of Monza dropping off the Formula 1 calendar?

shares
comments
Analysis: How much threat is there of Monza dropping off the Formula 1 calendar?
Feb 12, 2016, 4:31 PM

When F1 commercial boss Bernie Ecclestone is negotiating a deal and publicly says that a matter is 'in the hands of the other side', that generally...

When F1 commercial boss Bernie Ecclestone is negotiating a deal and publicly says that a matter is 'in the hands of the other side', that generally means that the endgame is approaching.

The other side needs to find money and/or some kind of long term commitment to close it or the game may be up.

The clock is ticking, in other words.

Such is the plight today of the Italian Grand Prix at Monza beyond the end of this season. It has looked wobbly at various times in the last year, at other times there has been cause for optimism.

Now it looks like it's hanging in the balance.

Italian GP 2015

Speaking to Reuters, Ecclestone said, "I don't know what's going to happen. It's a little bit Italian at the moment. A lot of conversations at the moment and not much action.

"The only people that can sort this out are the people that are currently involved in Italy. There's no deadline.

"They can take as long as they like, provided it's by the end of this month.

"They said to me a few months ago 'everything is sorted out, we know exactly where we are and it's all agreed and no dramas.'

"And now I heard yesterday it's become very political...they'll get on with it. Or not. Nothing we can do about it."

Ecclestone, Renzi

So what's going on behind the scenes?

Italian colleagues tell me that there are several problems as far as Ecclestone is concerned. First there is a question of personnel; Monza has not confirmed the contract of Federico Bendinelli, who is someone Ecclestone trusted from his days at Imola.

Second, the money is still not right. There are several parties involved in this; the national federation known as the Automobile Club of Italy, run by Angelo Sticchi Damiani, the Automobile Club of Milan, run by Ivan Capelli and the SIAS, which manages the Monza Autodrome.

The annual race hosting fee of €20-25m is in place; two thirds of it comes from the ACI and much of that money has come from a new mechanism inspired by Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi, following his meeting with Ecclestone at Monza last September (photo above). The other third comes from the ACM.

A breakthrough at the end of last year was the ten year commitment of €7m a year from the local region to underwrite the race and the track improvements, but there are now concerns about the viability of that with some reductions being requested.

The regional representatives providing this funding now want face to face talks with Ecclestone, but he wants to deal with one interlocutor, not multiple parties.

At the same time he needs some guarantees before he will close the deal and that is what he means by 'it's in their hands'.

Imola F1

Are there any alternatives to Monza?

One problem straight off is that the fund channeled by the Italiam PM via the ACI is specifically for Monza. It is not clear what would happen to that fund if Monza talks collapsed.

Other venues have been discussed for an Italian Grand Prix, including Imola and Mugello. Italian colleagues dismiss Imola as a possibility for logistical and financial reasons; the paddock is not fit for purpose for F1 and with a river behind it, there is little prospect of expansion, even if the money were in place.

Mugello is owned by Ferrari and hosts the Moto GP, but would the collapse of the deal at Monza stimulate Ferrari to step

in to save the Italian Grand Prix?

Colleagues in Italy say that the ACI is 'optimistic' that a deal at Monza will be agreed; that these are details, albeit important ones and that they are not far out on the money.

We will watch developments with interest.

Next article
Mercedes: Young stars flying high in 2016

Previous article

Mercedes: Young stars flying high in 2016

Next article

Wolff: Honda will emerge as strong F1 force

Wolff: Honda will emerge as strong F1 force
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1