Imola versus Monza? Support emerges to secure F1 future for both venues
Italian politicians have voiced their determination to see both Imola and Monza remain on the F1 calendar for the long term.
As the home of Ferrari, the sport’s most recognisable institution, Italy has long been regarded as a key F1 heartland but has faced a battle to keep hosting the races in recent times.
The spiritual home of the Italian Grand Prix, Monza’s existing deal is set to expire in 2025 having fought with former F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone for many years to retain its place on the schedule.
Meanwhile, Imola went 14 years without a race after sliding off the calendar at the end of 2006 and only returned in the autumn of 2020 during the truncated pandemic-affected campaign.
The Emilia Romagna Grand Prix reassumed a more traditional April slot in 2021/22 and was scheduled to host the sixth round of the 2023 season this weekend before severe storms forced the event’s cancellation.
Speaking ahead of the news of the cancellation, Matteo Salvini, Italy’s vice president of the council of ministers, is certain there is a place for both tracks on the F1 schedule.
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According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, he said: “The GPs mean work, tourism, beauty, identity, tradition, research, innovation and are symbols of wealth and jobs which, at a time like this, are sacred: the goal is to secure both Imola and Monza, which absolutely must coexist.”
With sustainability a growing consideration for governments in today’s world, the call for Italy to keep staging two grands prix for year may raise eyebrows.
But Mr Salvini is unmoved in his view that Imola and Monza are both worth having.
“The challenges of sustainability are perfectly fine but the roar of engines, the beautiful ones that annoy some, are irreplaceable” he added.
“Good luck to all the operators that, in these particularly complicated weeks for these areas, they never stopped working for a minute.
“As a minister and as a ministry we are here, not only with the €5million that we financially give as content, but above all as cultural support.”
Antonio Tajani, the minister of foreign affairs and international co-operation, voiced his support of the plan, insisting F1 can assist tourism in Italy and promote the image of a vibrant and successful nation.
He said: “The strong international appeal of F1 makes Italy an extraordinary promotion abroad and support is a government priority because it gives a dynamic, creative and winning image of the country.”
While Imola’s 2023 race may have fallen, Monza remains set to welcome fans for the Italian Grand Prix on September 3.
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