Not too late to save Monza GP, says Italian motorsport chief

Italy's motorsport boss said on Tuesday that he was hopeful Monza could still put together a deal to save the Italian Grand Prix, as the country's prime minster was poised to get involved in discussions.

With Monza's current race deal running out at the end of next year, there has been little progress in sorting out a contract extension amid ongoing scepticism from Bernie Ecclestone that the race can be saved.

Those delays have prompted the Formula 1 supremo to say several times that he was doubtful the event will remain on the calendar.

As recently as the Belgian GP, Ecclestone said: "I don't know about Monza at the moment. I have got meetings there in September, so we will see.

"I hope we don't lose it, but I think there is a good chance we will."

Ongoing optimism

During a press conference in Milan on Tuesday attended by senior race figures, Angelo Sticchi Damiani, the boss of Italian motorsport federation, the ACI,  said he still had reason to believe matters could move forwards.

"Monza must overcome the situation that we all know well," said Sticchi Damiani. "I think with a bit of optimism, there are opportunities for this to happen.

"The important thing is that we all work together: knowing that there is interest from all levels of the government – from the [national] government to that of the Lombardy Region, which has demonstrated that in practical terms. And let's not forget the towns of Milan and Monza.

"Now the good intentions must be translated into concrete action."

Government help

The Lombardy Region has offered assistance in relation to a revamp of the infrastructure, but it cannot provide any financial help in terms of the race hosting fee.

However, Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi is set to attend this weekend's race at Monza and is likely to join in discussions with Ecclestone about how to save the event.

Ecclestone has been clear for some time that he is not chasing a big money deal – but just wants Italy to pay the same as other European venues.

"They don't have to give any more than other people," explained Ecclestone. "We just want the same."

Interview by Franco Nugnes

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Event Italian GP
Track Autodromo Nazionale Monza
Article type Breaking news