Talks to secure Monza's future on the F1 calendar will step into a high gear this weekend. Bernie Ecclestone has warned that unless a new deal is agreed, the historic circuit will fall off the schedule. So Roberto Maroni, the regional Lombardy president, resorted to humour this week when he was asked about the F1 supremo's presence at the fabled Autodromo Nazionale this weekend.
"Given that the UK is not averse to suspending the Schengen Agreement, we will only allow him into Italy if he signs a new contract," smiled Maroni. Maroni said Lombardy is ready to do its part, pledging EUR 70 million to Monza over the next 10 years. It is also rumoured that Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi could attend this weekend's race. But Maroni warned: "We do not want any alternation with Imola or Mugello. This (Monza) is the only possible venue for the Italian grand prix."
Angelo Sticchi-Damiani, head of the Italian automobile club ACI, said: "Personally I am optimistic, but we must work together. "We know that Bernie wants concrete actions and that is what we will try to offer him. He is sensitive to the history of Monza, but formula one has very high expenses and we have to be able to meet these commitments." (GMM)
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing