Domenicali pressures Monza to ‘move with the times’

Circuit atmosphere - large Ferrari flag at the podium. 03.09.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 15, Italian Grand Prix, Monza, Italy, Race Day. -, EMail: © Copyright: Staley / XPB Images
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Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali has told the organisers of the Italian Grand Prix that they must get started with renovation work at the iconic Monza circuit if they hope to retain the race beyond 2025.

Last month, the President of the Italian Automobile Club Angelo Sticchi Damiani claimed that a five-year extension for both Monza and Imola had been all but agreed. Domenicali responded by saying the there were still items to be agreed.

“I am in good contact with the motorsport federation in Italy," Domenicali told Rai's La Politica nel Pallone radio show. “We are negotiating, but we need elements to carry this negotiation forward,”

The sticking point appears to be modernisation work that F1 and the FIA say must be carried out to keep Monza up to the required standard. Resurfacing the track, building a new underpass and other logistical concerns were highlighted.

"The work at Monza was supposed to start after the Grand Prix [in September] and still hasn’t started in December," he complained. "It should now start in the near future.”

“My push is a constructive push, we must keep pace with the times,” Domenicali adding, pointing out that Monza couldn't rely on its historic prestige and status in the sport to assume it will always be on the F1 calendar.

Modern circuits in the Middle East and Asia get financial support from national governments and business who see it as a boost for the economy and international reputation of the country

But older circuits such as Monza, Silverstone and Spa receive only minimal state support making it hard to compete with the likes of Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi and Las Vegas to host F1 Grand Prix races.

(L to R): Mohammed Bin Sulayem (UAE) FIA President; Georgia Meloni (ITA) Prime Minister; and Stefano Domenicali (ITA) Formula One President and CEO, on the grid.
03.09.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 15, Italian Grand Prix, Monza, Italy, Race Day.
-, EMail: © Copyright: Batchelor / XPB Images

"It’s all about understanding the desire to invest in F1 as a racing platform," said Domenicali. "Entertainment and business can no longer be on a private level. It is our country that must make a precise choice.”

Making it harder for Monza is the return of Imola to the calendar in 2020, meaning that Italy is bidding to host two races in the country, stretching the financial resources to breaking point.

Imola previously hosted the 1980 Italian GP and then held the San Marino Grand Prix every year between 1981 and 2006. After losing its slot on the F1 schedule, local organisers used the time to renovate and upgrade the track facilities.

Track Atmosphere
31.08.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 15, Italian Grand Prix, Monza, Italy, Preparation Day.
-, EMail: © Copyright: Charniaux / XPB Images

“In 2020, Imola had an extraordinary opportunity and were ready for the unexpected call," Domenicali noted. The race had to be dropped from this year's schedule at the last minute due to heavy rain in the Emilia Romagna region.

"The flood tragedy didn’t allow us to race there this season, so we can’t wait to race there again," Domenicali said.

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