Michael Schumacher, Ferrari, Imola, 2006

Imola could replace Monza as Italian GP home

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Michael Schumacher, Ferrari, Imola, 2006In the round-up: The Imola circuit, which last held a round of the world championship in 2006, is seeking to take over from Monza as the home of the Italian Grand Prix.


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Imola begins talks to save Italian Grand Prix (Motorsport)

"Monza officials met with Ecclestone in Monaco last month to try to push forward a deal, but it has become clear that discussions will not resume until the necessary finances are in place."

F1 entry now 'practically impossible' (Autosport)

"You can't make a business plan work if the revenue stream is not changed."

Sauber being ‘prudent’ with development (F1i)

"If you are a business, you need to run it in a prudent way – you are not there to waste money particularly when you think you don’t have enough to do all that maybe you want to do."

Fuoco and Gutierrez at the F1 test in Austria (Ferrari)

"Antonio Fuoco will drive an SF15-T for the first time at the test session which takes place on the Spielberg circuit in the week following the Austrian Grand Prix."

McLaren needs an ‘extreme approach’ to win again (Crash)

"To beat Mercedes you need to do something extreme and with Honda we are doing an extreme approach. It is taking time, but I'm optimistic."

Ferrari will not surrender targets after Canada (ESPN)

"We need to have a bit of humility to recognise that at the moment they are stronger than us without thinking 'we have closed the gap so we can beat them every race' - this is not realistic, honestly."

Helmut Marko (Safe Is Fast)

"Our latest Ask a Pro is Helmut Marko, Red Bull Racing's driver development guru and winner of the 1971 Le Mans 24 Hours."


Comment of the day

Congratulations to Neil (@Neilosjames) who won the Romain Grosjean-Pharrell Williams Caption Competition:

Romain Grosjean, Pharrell Williams, Lotus, Monaco, 2015

Romain was so excited when his manager told him he’d arranged for him to talk to Williams about 2016…

Thanks to everyone else who joined in, especially Robert, RBAlonso, Ferrox Glideh and Mathers who also made great suggestions.

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A busy day in the motor racing world 30 years ago today saw Michele Alboreto with the Canadian Grand Prix for Ferrari, Mario Andretti win the IndyCar Portland 200 and a Joest Racing-run Porsche win the Le Mans 24 Hours.

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  • 62 comments on “Imola could replace Monza as Italian GP home”

    1. I was literally just thinking about Imola replacing Monza an hour ago!! As much as I absolutely love Monza, Imola is even better. I would love for that to happen!

      1. @strontium
        Reading that reminded me of an article from last year:

        I’d like to see another GP at Imola, I just wish it wasn’t as a replacement for Monza. Monza is one of those circuits that’s different to the rest, even with the chicanes it’s still up there as a uniquely challanging circuit.
        Although these days I never know if these stories are real or only get started because Bernie is using the potential new host venue as a negotiating tactic against the current host. He’s done it so many times I try not to get my hopes up/down until their name appears/disappears on/off the official calendar.

      2. I disagree. I don’t see Imola as something special since those chicanes were installed in the 1970s and particularly since those of 1995 – and removing one doesn’t really changes my mind.

        Monza, however, is still unique with those low downforce heavy braking zones and nervous cars.

      3. @strontium I don’t think they are interchangable. I adore Imola, spent so much time in sims racing around the chicanes and I always loved the GP, even if the races were usually boring (at least the last few years).

        But it felt like a special track, one that’s missing in the current calendar, and which could well revive in the same way the Austria GP did: full grandstands, a lovely scenery, and praise from all the drivers.

        Monza has been equally special. But somehow in a different way: it’s the history, the speed, the tifosis. I’d hate to miss it.

      4. Omar R (@omarr-pepper)
        16th June 2015, 4:01

        @strontium Monza is and MUST be the place where the speed trap tells how fast the beasts can go. I know an F1 car must be ready for all the other variables (braking, speed on curves, downforce) but Monza as Ferrari “home” and that podium over the track, makes it sooooooooooo special I wouldn’t exchange it for any other track, nor Suzuka, Spa, or Canada, even after this year borefest.

      5. It’s unrealistic to suggest with Bernie in power, but would it be too selfish to want both Monza and Imola?

        1. Not at all too selfish, was that way once for a long time and it can be again. I would take Monza over Imola any day, but I’d also take Imola over much of the remainder of the calendar.

      6. I think its just Bernie having a different track in the “spotlight” to try and tell Monza that they can be replaced.

        Imola would not be any good racing, just look at the last few races we have had there, were they any good? And there is not much (any) scope of creating much needed runoff where its needed, so that would mean keeping the latest chicanes added. In contrast, Monza is … well its Monza!

        1. Imola would not be any good racing, just look at the last few races we have had there, were they any good?

          I thought the ’05 & ’06 races were actually good… Some of the best of their respective years, as a matter of fact.

          Of course, that was the time when there were 3 genuine championship contenders (even on off days). These days it will be as processional as everywhere else.

        1. We should replace Valencia with Imola

      7. It will never happen. Imola has even less money to spend than Monza, believe me. It’s just Bernie playing his tricks again to encourage Monza management and speed up the deal…

    2. If only we could have both again…

      1. it’s a matter of time, if you ask me. I mean, it’s not a good thing to wish someone’s death, but being honest: how many years more have Bernie in front of him? unless THIS happens!

        1. Bernie is just an employee, though. When the time comes for someone to fill his big shoes (well, tiny shoes) CVC would want someone who is just as cold and money-driven as Bernie.

          1. he isn’t “just an employee” in the way you or me are just employees… if he wants something, then it gets done! must of the power he have, is because he is.. well, him! take a look at what happened here in Argentina with Julio Grondona (kind of Bernie Ecclestone of Football). When he was alive, no one dared to contradict him. Now he’s gone, and things are getting more difficult for everyone. We’re lights year from having a clean sport with no corruption, but the “dictator” model is gone. Now, the day bernie goes away (by death, or any other means) you’ll see how things may change. Look at Ferrari! i would never dream of Luca being kicked out, and much less i dare to dream that after that the team will go up again, but there you have it. It’s a matter of time, i insist.

            1. @matiascasali, CVC have shorn Bernie of quite a bit of his power recently – when he was facing the corruption trial in Germany, CVC quietly transferred a number of his duties and powers to members of CVC.
              Although they allowed him to regain some of those after the trial, he’s returned in a reduced role and in a position where CVC do now have a stronger say over the direction of the sport – they have even discussed the option of replacing him in the past, so it seems that his position is not as strong as you think.

    3. Michael Brown
      16th June 2015, 0:36

      Why not make it the European Grand Prix? I think it’s the perfect candidate today.

      1. Because we already have European GP. In Azerbaijan.

        1. ColdFly F1 (@)
          16th June 2015, 8:48

          @hoshino, then make Azerbaijan/Baku what it should be: the Asian GP.

      2. I agree, however Azerbaijan is running under the European GP in 2016, but if does reappear with Monza on the calendar, it will be called “San Marino GP”.

        1. I don’t understand why it can’t just be the Grand Prix of Azerbaijan…

          1. @vmaxmuffin
            Propaganda. Why are European Games taking place for the first time in history – and in Azerbaijan?
            Because we have a typical kleptocratic state at Europe’s fringe that has a lot of money to spend thanks to its government-driven corruption, money that it spends to be associated with the name “Europe”, because it’s the epitome of what Azerbaijan isn’t: Wealthy, free, an international power.
            Why is Russia hosting the Winter Olympics, an F1 race and the Football World Cup right now? Not because it’s suddenly become rich and its society is open to the world. Quite the opposite …
            The only difference is that Russia wants to be Anti-Europe, so being called by its own name makes more sense propaganda-wise.

          2. I mean even Turkey is barely considered in Europe and that’s just sometimes. To think that Azerbaijan is there, you are lacking seriously in geography Bernie… Turkish people and Azeris are both predominantly Turkish people actually. I didn’t see the plans for Azerbaijan circuit, but Turkey had a pretty good track with some sensational GPs. If it wasn’t for Bernie’s stipulations regarding money, I would much prefer to see Turkish GP back on calendar.

            1. I really miss the Istanbul Park circuit. It truly is a fantastic track with the elevation changes, good mix of high speed corners and hard-braking zones. This still remains as one of my favourite F1 tracks, and one of my favourites to play in racing games as well.

            2. Now that I think about it, isn’t Erdogan still Turkey’s leader? I remember reading a lot about him acting more like a dictator than a democratically elected leader. Considering the circumstances, it seems like a great time for F1 to go back (I mean, F1 did race in Bahrain, India, Russia, and now the upcoming Azerbaijan race).

    4. The drivers were just expressing a desire to have more danger in F1…

      I suppose Monza used to be pretty dangerous too before it became a tarmac. Maybe Imola could be tarmac’d

      1. maybe? it most certainly will!

      2. one reason I don’t want classic tracks to reappear is because they will be destroyed by the safety standards of current F1. I fear I will be very disappointed when I see the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez when its renovation is complete…

    5. Romain thinks “this is why i was up all night? i thougth i was going to get lucky!”

        1. What, you feel like a room without a roof?

          1. Because that’s what you wanna do?

        2. well… i can’t be great all the time! :D

    6. Imola was and still is a great circuit. It would be a real shame to lose Monza but at least there’d still be an Italian Grand Prix.

      1. I agree with this entirely. Better the Italian Grand Prix somewhere other than Monza than no Italian Grand Prix. Btw this situation has come about before- after Ronnie Peterson’s fatal accident at Monza in 1978, Imola was supposed to be the replacement location for the Italian Grand Prix- and it held that GP in 1980; it was supposed to alternate with Monza then and host the GP every 2nd year.

      2. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Italian grand prix was no more one day, here’s why.

        F1 is technically french as that is where it started, look at the FIA, anyway, we don’t have a french Grand Prix any more do we?
        And Germany? I never even thought that would be gone but its slowly slipping. Did anyone ever imagine F1 in 2004 without a French, German and Italian Grand Prix? I would say not, but its slowly heading this way. So sad

        F1 goes now only where the money is, not where the fans are, thank you CVC, thank you Bernie!

    7. DK (@seijakessen)
      16th June 2015, 1:17

      Few bits of information…

      The last round of upgrades/renovations to Imola got it back into FIA Grade 1 status.

      The F1 layout would be nearly the same as 2006, however the run from Rivazza 2 to the Traguardo would not be used. Rivazza would instead run straight down to the Tamburello Chicane (with two slight kinks to the right) and that would be the DRS zone. They still have an alternate section that has the Traguardo, but the angle is much different now from 10 years ago, and it’s used for WSBK among other racing.

      This is a car onboard from early May 2015 that shows how the main straight looks now.


      While I always wanted to see Imola return to the calendar, at this point I don’t really want it since it’s likely to do more harm than good to the circuit’s finances. Unless Ferrari decides to shell out a bit of cash to subsidize the race, I don’t see any positive for Imola from a financial perspective. That said, I would prefer there is no return there because this is the game Bernie continues to play. If one circuit balks, he tries to use rumors of another circuit stepping in to take over as leverage. I commented elsewhere that I was waiting for Bernie to use the threat of Imola to try and strong-arm the Monza officials into agreeing to his extortionist terms. I wish race circuits would tell him to take a hike as this is not a race series worth hosting anymore.

      1. exactly this @seijakessen

        That said, I would prefer there is no return there because this is the game Bernie continues to play. If one circuit balks, he tries to use rumors of another circuit stepping in to take over as leverage.

      1. Yes, that was a great one!
        As a Canadian kid watching back in the day, the duel I remember from Imola was Peroni defying Gilles. The track was great back then, but just having watched some onboard footage from May 2015 (thanks DK, above), I’m not sure that the track would be suitable for F1 anymore.
        Off topic, my fantasy would be to see F1 race at Barber or Laguna Seca. In my dreams!

    8. Did it ever occur to Monisha Kaltenborn that perhaps Sauber’s approach to getting sponsorship is wrong? I mean, they’ve struggled to attract a decent sponsor for a quite a while now, Felipe Nasr’s Banco Do Brasil doesnt count.

      I have to say, that Im very impressed with the Matthew Carter approach to sponsorship. Lotus have done so many short term deals and cross platform publicity stunts. Although this may not yield a solid 20 – 30 million one off payment, it still keeps the cash coming in, and it also keeps the team in the public eye. The deal they did with Mad Max was pretty smart and creative.

      I still think F1 teams are very arrogant when it comes to sponsorship. Like Ive said before, F1 in general suffers from an air of entitlement. It needs to be more realistic with expectations. The likes of Sauber need to find more creative ways to attract sponsorship, if Lotus can do it, there is no reason why they cant. Perhaps “micro-sponsorship” is the road to long term commercial stability in F1?

      The only issue with this would be that the team will not have a consistent identity, would also probably turn into a branding nightmare. So the question really is, how important is branding to the like of Lotus and Sauber? Surely its more important to maintain steady cashflow to racing?

      1. Or maybe sponsors are reluctant to get on board with the “customer car” thing hanging over eveyone @jaymenon10. And then they still do have more sponsors on the car than McLaren have.

      2. I still think F1 teams are very arrogant when it comes to sponsorship.

        I can imagine Ron Dennis being like this. Probably partly the reason why they haven’t had a title sponsor in two years, along with their recent lack of success. I really thought though that with Alonso on board, they’d attract a few major sponsors. Not as yet.

      3. Also, regarding Sauber, when and what was the last notable sponsor they signed which wasn’t down to the driver they signed? Chelsea in 2012 (if that counts) or NEC in 2011.

    9. As much as I like Imola I’d rather it not return to the F1 calender for the simple reason that the racing there was always awful after the 1995 changes.

      The only interesting parts of the circuit were the 2 chicanes where drivers threw the cars over the kurbs. Variante Alta was butched in 2006 & Variante bassa no longer exists.

      GP2 ran on the new layout in early 2011 & the races were both terrible.

    10. I’ll keep watching F1 but it feels like I’m rubbernecking a roadside fatality.

    11. bad news again… not easy being an F1 fan.

    12. “To beat Mercedes you need to do something extreme and with Honda we are doing an extreme approach. It is taking time, but I’m optimistic.”

      Like Nissan.

      1. @xtwl I do feel there is a lot higher chance of Nissan coming good than McLaren. They are neither restricted by a token-system nor did endure years with lacking sponsorship. Also, Nissan just drove with a hybrid-system on board but had to disable it, so once they get it running there is an instant huge performance-boost in there, whereas there is no such single key left for Honda/McLaren to turn.

        1. I thought they were still running with limited power?

      2. Nissan@WEC = Honda@F1.
        Also, Renault@F1 also reminds me of Toyota@WEC somehow.
        Otoh, I always wondered why did their engines get rebranded as Infiniti which means Nissan, despite their alliance. Did Nissan engineers work on those engines or what? Now they are complaining because they didn’t get as much credit for their success with RBR.

    13. How many times have we heard about this ‘extreme’ approach from Mclaren? The downside of an extreme approach is a high risk on failure, which is exactly what has happened to Mclaren.

      Switching to a new engine supplier that went down the same PU design route as Mercedes, meant that they would, at best, end up like Ferrari (2nd best). They were more inclined to take a risk due to this disadvantage, but instead of talking up their risk taking ability, they need to be more honest with themselves and the fans by just admitting their ‘extreme’ approach was an utter failure.

      Mclaren need to stay mum and just focus their efforts on 2017. Bravo for the extreme approach, now scrap it, and start with a blank sheet of paper for 2017

      1. @todfod But the product *hasn’t* been an utter failure. It can happily move a car at a fair rate of knots – it just needs a lot of refinement and reliability fixes, which is to be expected from a very immature program when compared to its rivals. As @xtwl says above, they’re in the same boat as Nissan. See also: Porsche in WEC 2014. One year later, they’ve won Le Mans.

        Bravo for the extreme approach, now scrap it, and start with a blank sheet of paper for 2017

        They can’t scrap the design, since a portion of it is frozen by the regulations.

        The bile should be directed at Renault, who’ve had just as long as Ferrari and Mercedes to design their unit and get it working well and get it working reliably.

        1. Renault won 3 races in their 1st year of V6 turbos then have gone backwards. Honda only have 1 car in the points over a third of their 1st season. If Honda drop back 2nd year as Renault have they will be in GP3. Re ault are better than Honda this year and were better relatively speaking in their 1st year.

          Thing is when Manor get a new car with latest Ferrari engine it may be they can push and hopefully demote McLaren Honda to absolute last. Even then the McLaren PR team could make it sound good.

        2. @optimaximal

          But the product *hasn’t* been an utter failure. It can happily move a car at a fair rate of knots

          If this isn’t a failed product, I don’t know what is.

    14. I would love Imola to come back, I think almost everyone would, but lets not forget they changed the layout in 2006 and the fast Variante Alta was ruined, I would like to see both Monza and Imola, not drop Monza for Imola, if I had to choose one, Monza all the way

    15. i love imola more than monza .. make this happen !!

    16. oh man. I love San Marino Imola…… ( although it reminds us of the grave tragedy !!!) It is one of my fav circuits.

      Not sure how the currents F1 cars with the new regulations will fare there. But still worth it.

      Although I admit I want both Imola and Monza……. They are glorious circuits.

    17. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
      16th June 2015, 21:00

      Imola should NEVER have been dropped. It’s a far better track than Korea, or China, or Abu Dhabi, or Bahrain etc etc. Monza shouldn’t be dropped- both races should be held, one after another in succession.

    18. The greed of CVC Partners knows no limit, and they could give a damn about tradition. F1 with the exclusion of Monza wouldn’t be the same, and it’s loss could only feed into the downward spiral for the sport, and fan viewership worldwide. Imola is a track which should be on the calendar every year, and not as a substitute for Monza.

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