Although the panic button has not been pressed yet, the future of Formula 1 at Monza depends largely on the approval of local government funding and whether the ACI can raise the €100-million required to refurbish the legendary venue.
Like Monaco, Silverstone and Spa-Francorchamps, Monza is one of the most iconic races on the calendar, one of the Majors if there were such a thing in F1. Known as the Temple of Speed, it is also the home of Ferrari – the sport’s most famous team.
Autosprint reported last March, that Bill 1150 was filed in the Senate seeking allocation of a contribution from the Government to the ACI of €10-million per year from 2020 to 2025, to support the costs of organisation and management of the Grand Prix. However, this still needs to be ratified.
Speaking to reporters at Expomove in Florence, ACI president Angelo Sticchi Damiani gave an update on the situation as contract time with F1 looms, “We have said on several occasions that Monza circuit needs important works and that today the estimate is around €100 million, with €60-million needed urgently.
Monza is steeped in history, but it is also showing its age – the circuit marks it’s 100th anniversary in three years time – and financial input from the government will be “decisive to do everything we want to do” insisted Damiani.
Monza is in negotiations with Liberty Media to renew the agreement that expires this year. This was only made possible by support from the Lombardy Region authorities, but the three-year period ends after this year’s race there.
Damiani explained, “Thanks to the Lombardy Region, we have managed to find a balance, which expires this year, with 2019, and that we must renew for the next few years. There are very stringent, complicated and difficult negotiations ongoing with Liberty Media, who have inherited too many onerous and unsustainable contracts.”
“There are a number of things we need to change because the times have evolved: the management of space, a reception in step with the times and the need for a promoter with a focus on Monza sustaining the Italian Grand Prix as one of the most important rounds of the F1 World Championship.”
The red of Ferrari pumps through the ‘veins’ of Monza as the tifosi have descended to the hallowed venue on 68 occasions to support their team. No other venue has been on the calendar since the modern world championship began.
Ferrari have 18 victories at the venue and of course, a strong Scuderia is always a sure way to sell tickets. Throw into the that young Charles Leclerc and you have a promoter’s dream, “Leclerc is a phenomenon.”
“I knew it, we already understood it and we had proof of it. In a car that, up to ten laps from the end, was doing very well he proved to be fast, with the right temperament and knowing how to drive well.”
“Leclerc made us dream and we are convinced that both he and Vettel will take is to the world title this year,” added the Monza chief.
Big Question: How important is Monza for F1?