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Vettel's passionate outburst on why Monza must stay on F1 calendar

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Vettel's passionate outburst on why Monza must stay on F1 calendar
Sep 6, 2015, 6:03 PM

Sebastian Vettel has led a chorus of drivers' voices in urging F1 commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone and majority owner CVC Capital Partner...

Sebastian Vettel has led a chorus of drivers' voices in urging F1 commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone and majority owner CVC Capital Partners to ensure that the Italian Grand Prix at Monza remains on the F1 calendar.

As has happened with other venues, particularly in Europe, Ecclestone has threatened to cut the race from the calendar if the promoters do not come up with an increased hosting fee to retain the race after 2016. Paddock sources suggest that the asking price is in excess of €20m per year, aligned with other European venues, but less than some long haul venues pay.

But speaking moments after he finished second in the Italian Grand Prix and after a weekend of experiencing first hand what F1 means to the Italian fans from a Ferrari driver's perspective, three time Monza winner Vettel made an outburst that is likely to reach Ecclestone's ears very quickly.

Italian GP podium

"The emotions on the podium are incredible," Vettel said. "If we take this away from the calendar for any shitty money reasons I think you are basically ripping our hearts out. We are here, we are racing and this makes it so much more worthwhile. It’s what we’re here for.

"You stand on the grid, you look to the left, you look to the right, people are just happy to be part of it and it makes our day. So, simple as that. It’s incredible."

He was backed up by another three-time Monza winner Lewis Hamilton, albeit more tactfully, and by Felipe Massa,

"This is one of the best tracks in the world," said Hamilton. "This has to stay here for moral reasons. All those fans out there who come every single year. Are you going to take this Grand Prix away from us and put on another one, that would not have the same feeling, or would not have the special impact?

So we definitely have to keep this."

Massa, who finished on the podium for the second year in succession, agreed,

"I don’t think they can take it out. The history of Formula One, this is history here, here is part of what is Formula One... everything that Formula One grows is a lot thanks to these races as well, to these people. We race for the people and when you see the podium with a lot of people like that and they’re screaming and crying, I don’t think we can lose that.

"This is part of our blood and we cannot lose this type of race. I really like to go to new countries, we go to amazing countries, countries that I even didn’t know what they meant before and then I love to go there and I’m really in favour to go there but you cannot lose something which is inside the blood as well."

Sebastian Vettel, Italian GP

Earlier FIAT and Ferrari boss Sergio Marchionne had said that the race must stay as part of F1, but indicated that he would not be happy for Ferrari to be dragged into it, as Mercedes were with trying to rescue the German Grand Prix at Nurburgring this year,

"No-one should cast any doubt on Monza, " said Marchionne. "Ecclestone knows exactly how important it is. I hope we will not have a repeat of what happened in Germany, with Mercedes unable to help retain the Grand Prix."

Ecclestone has cast serious doubt on the race's future this weekend, saying that the promoters are well out on their valuation of the race. Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi visited Ecclestone in his motorhome at the track today and has indicated that he wants the race to continue, but this is not a nationally-funded event like some in the Middle East and emerging markets.

What is curious and has not been explained is why F1 values longevity and history when it comes to teams but not when it comes to circuits.

Ferrari's unbroken history in the sport, going back to 1950 contributes to it receiving a bonus fund of $100 million per season, while McLaren receives $34m and Williams $10m (as they were in a weak negotiating position when the contracts to 2020 were drawn up).

Yet there is no similar recognition for the historic contribution of Grands Prix; the Italian race is the only one - apart from the British - to host a race every year since F1 began in 1950.

One is a competitor, the other a venue, but as today's podium and the general spectacle all weekend demonstrated, Monza brings unique personality to F1, like Monaco, Singapore and a handful of other venues. One could argue that it does more for F1 than F1 does for the Monza region.

Vettel's words are provocative as far as Ecclestone is concerned, but the basic message is one that is echoed by more or less very professional working in the sport and many fans in Italy and around the world.

If F1 values its history it has to find a way to retain this Grand Prix. It would be losing not only part of its historic spine, but also its soul if the Italian Grand Prix was lost.

What do you think? Does a venue's history matter to F1 overall, or should all venues be treated the same? Leave your comments below
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