Sunday's chequered flag has already waved, Monza is firmly on the 2016 calendar, but the future of the historic and popular Italian grand prix is still making news. That is because figures both inside and outside of the paddock can barely imagine an F1 beyond 2016 without the Autodromo Nazionale, and the passions it inspires.
And yet Bernie Ecclestone had departed Monza warning that a deal beyond 2016 is now "unlikely". The reigning Monza winner, Lewis Hamilton, attended a sponsor event in Milan on Monday, with the Tuttosport newspaper quoting him as saying Monza's place on the calendar should be "untouchable".
"You see Ferrari flowing through the veins of the fans. It's like their DNA. It's like they're born with the red shirt, like Superman and his suit," the Mercedes driver added. "Monza cannot be touched," Hamilton said. "It is important to keep the historic races, as where there is history, there is passion."
So after weeks and more of petitions and pleas, F1 supremo Ecclestone appears now to have softened his stance regarding Monza. Italy's Sky quotes him as saying: "I'm sure we will do something." Ecclestone's confidante and friend Flavio Briatore has a similar message, although he warns that it is still up to the race organisers to agree a deal with the supremo.
But Briatore said: "Bernie knows the importance of Monza. My feeling is that the grand prix will stay here for years. There are these historical races to maintain, even if they are worth less than the others. History is important for formula one, and I think Monza has more appeal than Malaysia," the former Renault boss added. (GMM)
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