Michael Schumacher, Ferrari, Imola, 2002

Italian law makes F1 return to Imola unlikely

2016 Italian Grand Prix

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The Italian Grand Prix is unlikely to move from Monza to Imola due to Italian legislation according to the president of the Automobile Club of Italy.

Monza’s contract to hold Italy’s round of the world championship expires after this year’s race but the race promoters have not yet agreed terms with F1 commercial head Bernie Ecclestone.

The possibility of a return to Imola, which F1 last visited a decade ago and where the Italian Gran Prix was held in 1980, has been raised in recent weeks. However ACI president Angelo Sticchi Damiani doubts that will happen.

New Monza Curva Grande layout for 2017
Monza will change its first corner next year
“In the Italian financial law it is written that the grand prix should be Monza, not Imola,” he said at the FIA’s Sport Conference in Turin today.

“The involvement of the Automobile Club of Italy, who is involved directly in the running of the grand prix starting next year, is for an Italian Grand Prix running in Monza, not in Imola. This is a new law, a financial law, that was approved at the beginning of the year.”

Responsibility for promoting the race is due to pass from the Automobile Club of Milan, which is organising this year’s race, to the ACI.

Earlier this month Formula One Management announced its new sponsor Heineken will have naming rights for this year’s Italian Grand Prix. However Damiani indicated details of this deal are yet to be finalised.

“Thanks to the support of the Lombardy regional authority, and hopefully also thanks to a national sponsor – although these have to be defined in the details – thanks to these supports, we managed to begin [negotiations] in February.”

“In Monte Carlo we found many common points with Ecclestone,” he added. “There are things that still have to be defined, but I dare say we are very close to an agreement despite some actions which have not helped the negotiations. Quite the opposite, it has made it difficult.”

Monza is also planning to revise its track layout for next year and replace the existing Rettifilio chicane at the start of the lap with a new configuration.

2016 Italian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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28 comments on “Italian law makes F1 return to Imola unlikely”

  1. Why do we need to do that? Ernie Becclestone should just cut Spa, Monza, Silverstone. And put races in Dubai, Doha and any one else who offers to pays him huge sums of money.

  2. I wondered why the Italian economy has been a disaster for more than a decade; reading that the Italians have a “law” decreeing the Italian Grand Prix must be at Monza sheds much light on the situation.

    1. Mustavo Gaia
      21st June 2016, 20:44

      I think there is a mistake in translation or a misuse of the word by mr. Damiani.
      Given the multitude of term for laws, specially in those parts of the world, “financial law” would not refers to “finance” but to budgetary or tax laws, probably related to fiscal benefits to the GP.
      That can be inferred by this quote from the original report: “Sticchi Damiani explained that state funding for the Italian Grand Prix was legally committed to the Autodromo Nazionale Monza. ”
      So, probably there is not a law making Monza the venue for the national GP, but there would be a tax/budget law yelding benefit to the GP held in Monza.

      1. Well, however worded, such kind of law smells of unfair competition and preference bias

      2. Thanks for the insight. If nothing else it shows how intertwined the Italian government and tax authorities are with the private sector, and that’s never a good thing.

        1. What private sector? I am quite sure that the track is not privately owned but state/city owned Gary

    2. The law was made especially to allow for allocating funds for government support of thevrace in Monza

  3. Anyone else not excited at all for Monza’s new layout? The first chicane was pretty crazy i agree, but im going to miss Curva Grande so much.

    1. @kcampos12 You”ll forget that corner pretty quick if you see the new cars going this new T1 though.

      1. The thing is, how long will it be before we then get complaints about a lack of passing if it turns out that, as some fear, it reduces the number of places where a pass can be made?

      2. @xtwl i don’t see why because this new turn 1 isn’t even going to be a corner, its going to be nothing more than an easy flat kink with zero history behind it that will likely hurt racing into the new chicane which will hinder racing into the 2nd chicane.
        and the longer flat out run will serve only to generate more boringly easy drs highway passes well before they get anywhere near this nothing kink.

        Curve Grande may have been easy flat & not much of a challenge for a number of years now but at least it was a historic bit of track which all the greats had been through & at least we got to see a lot of great racing through it.

      3. @xtwl Youre right the cars are going to be fantastic through there, but my sentiments do align with PeterG. i believe it will hinder the racing and a piece of history is gone.

      4. @kcampos12 ‘A piece of history is gone’ – remains one of the most pointless arguements in history (Ha!). You can’t create new stuff if you always simply keep what is old. Curva Grande was a simple corner between two chicanes where we have seen two great passes in the last few years being Alonso on Vettel and Vettel on Alonso. The end.

        This new corner will not only challenge drivers to use their DRS and then quickly flick their cars into this very fast one but it also allows the defending car to cover the inside line which will give us without a doubt side by side action into this corner (just like we had in Curva Grande but much slower). On top of that we get rid of that horrible first chicane which was as start/stop and anti-F1 as could be.

        Monza is called ‘the temple of speed’, not ‘outbraking place into the chincanes’. I agree it would be even better if they had just straightlined the first chicane but sadly that was never an option. There’ll be plenty of opportunities to overtake, don’t worry.

  4. New corner will be better as if taken flat it is what Curva Grande used to be prepared chicane, due to run off that is no longer possible so new corner is tighter but maybe flat but has the required run off. If the new chicane section is more open like maggots becketts section what is now the 2nd chicane would be epic.

    1. “If the new chicane section is more open like maggots becketts”

      don’t see it been that open, probably going to be fairly tight & slow.

  5. That picture is my new wallpaper, regardless of where the Italian GP is held in the future. Those were the days!

  6. Looking at what Damiani has said, surely there is a possible flaw in his argument? Imola only ever held the Italian Grand Prix once (in 1980) when Monza had to undergo renovation, but multiple races were held at Imola under the title of the San Marino Grand Prix.

    By that logic, if Bernie really wanted to ditch Monza and sign a new contract with Imola, surely he could simply pull the same trick and state that the Italian Grand Prix was being replaced by the San Marino Grand Prix? It would ostensibly be taking place under the auspices of the independent city state of San Marino, but functionally it would be the Italian Grand Prix in all but name.

    1. …and it would have no State funding at all, which is the point he is making.

  7. If the Italian GP was to move anywhere, why not Mugello? I cannot remember his exact words, but I recall Webber raving about driving there after the 2012 test, and it always makes for exciting MotoGP races.

    1. F1 at Mugello, that really would be worth going to see

    2. @clay Love Mugello, but “it always makes for exciting MotoGP races” isn’t quite a good argument IMO, since Barcelona always does that too :P

  8. Was it him who said that the pleasure of one lap at Mugello was equal to 100 laps at Abu Dhabi ?
    Mugello is fantastic, which the cynics would say is a good enough reason why F1 will never get there.

    1. @palindnilap Mugello is a great circuit to drive but given the nature of it (heavily reliant on aero due to lots of high/medium speed corners much like barcelona & magny-cours where racing is/was always rubbish) i’m not sure it would be that good for racing.

      you also need to look at other series that race there, f3 & even GT/touring car races there are nearly always rubbish so imagine how bad f1 would be.

      1. That is probably true, the straight is long but the fact that the corner before is fast means that F1 cars will be separated by a long distance at the start of it. So at best we would get super-DRS overtakes. Ah well.

  9. I read about 6ths ago that the track layout change was to give ample run off for motorcycle racing.
    I’m glad the first chicane is going but it’s a shame about curva grande. It was aptly named. Curva grande could be translated as fantastic corner. Grande in Italian is a complement and an adjective for large/big.
    The “law” I would believe is as Gaia said a poor translation. It probably relates more to approvals and contracts for funding, sponsorships, ect, ect, ect

  10. i predict they run the new layout at monza once or twice, find that it kills the racing (which it will) & go back to something similar to what we have now but with a modified 1st chicane which to be honest is all they need to do. no need at all to drop curve grande which is one of the most historic, iconic & recognizable bits of tarmac in all of motorsport.

    1. I knew what eau rouge was before I knew what curve grande was.

      I’ll reserve judgement on the modifications until I’ve seen f1 cars on it in a race

  11. The changes were approved by the former management of the circuit, so it’s not 100% sure they’re going to happen

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