Imola Seeks New Deal To Prevent European Race Demise

F1 Grand Prix Of Emilia Romagna Final Practice
F1 Grand Prix Of Emilia Romagna Final Practice

Italy will try to “resist” Formula 1’s gradual shift away from Europe, as Imola seeks a new race deal with the sport’s owner Liberty Media.

During an investors call this week, Liberty CEO Greg Maffei admitted capping the calendar at 24 grands prix for now has created a “great incentive scarcity” amid plenty of extra interest from potential new race hosts.

“We’ve been able to find attractive pricing and good uplifts,” he said. “So, so far so good on promotion.”

Imola returned to the F1 calendar during the covid era, with the circuit – set to host next weekend’s round of the world championship – now having a contract only through 2025.

“There are obviously some discussions to be done with Formula 1,” Angelo Sticchi Damiani, boss of the Italian automobile club Aci, told local media.

“The situation is obviously complex, but the first small step forward would be recovering the 2023 race for 2026,” he said, referring to the fact that last year’s race at Imola had to be cancelled due to flooding.

“Then everything depends a lot on what will happen in Europe in the next two-three years,” Sticchi Damiani added. “There are changes underway, new candidates, some are at risk.

“The picture is not just national, it is international and especially European. It’s clear that when they talk about taking away grands prix from Europe, we naturally think of countries that have two of them.”

Indeed, F1 currently races twice in Italy each year – including at Monza. But Sticchi Damiani says Imola is determined to “resist” being scratched.

“Stefano Domenicali knows how available we were in the covid tsunami,” he said, “helping to guarantee awarding full points in F1. In times of need, we were there.

“On the other hand we must try to be competitive both in terms of our offer and our hospitality.”

Stefano Bonaccini, president of the local Emilia-Romagna region, added: “They told us bringing F1 back was impossible. They told us the Tour de France was impossible. They told us the Davis Cup was impossible.

“Rest assured that the grand prix will remain in Imola,” he said.

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