Law change only way to save Monza, says Italy chief

Italy's motorsport boss says a law change that allows fresh funding for the Italian Grand Prix was the only way to save Monza's Formula 1 future.

An imminent amendment to Italy's Stability Law will allow the Automobile Club of Italy to bankroll the race at Monza, whereas under the old statutes it would only have been able to do so with profits from the sport which were too hard to define.

Angelo Sticchi Damiani, the president of the Automobile Club of Italy, told on Friday that with options running out, the tweak to legislation was essential because without it there seemed little other option to sort out a new deal.

"We have to be clear about the choice we had here – do we want the grand prix or not?" he explained. "If we wanted the grand prix to stay at Monza then we needed to find the resources.

"If the money had come from the government then there would have been big controversy, since those resources are supposed to be for solving the country's social problems.

"And now we can say that a part of the funding will come from the results of cuts and saving from our [the ACI's] budget."

He added: "Now the ACI can use the profits from its budget – and avoid the constraints that would [previously] have made it impossible."

Public funding

Although the end result will still be that a future Italian Grand Prix deal will be funded by money that could have been used for the public, Damiani says that countries must now accept the price of hosting F1.

"I think all around the world public money is used to organise every grand prix," he said.

"In our case, it will be the sport federation's public money. In other parts of the world, national governments provides public money – because it is unthinkable that every event can pay what Bernie Ecclestone demands."

Seven-year deal

Damiani hopes the legislation will be passed within the next fortnight, and he expects to meet Ecclestone in the New Year to get the process rolling to sign a new contract.

When asked if it will be for longer than four years, amid speculation of a seven-year deal, he said: "This is an Ecclestone request.

"He wants to renew with a long-term contract. This proposal can be interesting – and could bring us some extra benefits."

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Formula 1
Event Italian GP
Track Monza
Article type Breaking news