Monza secured F1 future after fraught battle with Liberty

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Despite a long drawn out negotiation process with Liberty Media, the future of the Italian Grand Prix at Monza has virtually been secured says ACI president Angelo Sticchi Damiani.

An agreement in principle covering the next five years was recently reached between the Automobile Club of Italia and F1's commercial rights holder, although the contract itself will only be signed in the coming months.

Sticchi Damiani admitted that talks with Liberty almost broke down several times as each party held its ground and protected its financial interests.

"We started with a very demanding contract, signed in 2016 when we were in a position of weakness, with Bernie Ecclestone expecting to leave F1 and wanting to increase the value of his business," explained Sticchi Damiani, quoted by La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"The sport's new owners then tried to defend a deal born in another time and place but no longer sustainable, even for other European organizers."

In his talks with Liberty, Sticchi Damiani underlined Monza's historical significance for F1, a value matched only by Silverstone and Monaco.

"It was difficult, they were determined and they mentioned a long list of venues waiting to join F1, talks almost broke down two or three times," added the Italian.

"The financial agreement is confidential but compared to their initial demands, we saved a lot of money.

"They wanted more than €24 million but we closed the deal for a lower figure for five years. It's a very good contract and I thank them because they realized the importance of Monza."

With a few fine points still to be worked out between the two parties, the final agreement should be signed and sealed over the summer.

"The contract will take about a month to close, it's complicated, with additions and many aspects to work out," said the ACI president.

"But I hope it will all be done by the summer holidays and by the end of July."

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