Imola wants behind-closed-doors F1 race

Date published: April 22 2020

Imola again offers to host an F1 race in 2020, this time behind closed doors.

Imola president Uberto Selvatico Estense says the circuit would like to hold an F1 race this season if Italy’s COVID-19 situation improves.

The circuit first stated their interest to host a race this season when they offered to take the spot left by the Chinese Grand Prix which was the first of the 2020 season to be postponed.

Imola reached out to Automobile Club of Italy president, Angelo Sticchi Damiani, about the idea, but the global spread of the coronavirus made that impossible – Italy is one of the worst affected countries with over 24,000 deaths.

But with Formula 1 looking at possibly holding races with no fans allowed as a way of getting the 2020 season going, Estense has again thrown Imola’s name into the hat.

Speaking to Motorsport.com, he said: “This situation is an opportunity for us to be a candidate for a grand prix this season.

“Obviously it depends also on the government rules, if they will allow us to run such a race.

“Of course we’ll offer the track for free, and then talk about costs on our side if possible. We can ask the region for some help. We’re not in the situation where we can pay a promoter’s fee.

“It’s much easier without spectators, we don’t have to take care of the grandstands, we don’t have to take care of things like VIP hospitality and so on. For sure it will be cheaper than a complete organisation. People are already thinking about running football games with closed doors.”

Discussions with F1 officials haven’t taken place yet because the protocol is to go via the ACI.

Estense suggested the race could be held back-to-back with Monza – the Belgian Grand Prix currently is scheduled for the week before Monza on August 30, but the Belgian government recently banned sporting events until at least September 1.

“Maybe it could be easier to organise a back-to-back race with Monza, in order to save money or save time for the teams,” he explained.

“But last year we even had nice weather in October, and also the first half of November. So we’re not scared about the weather.

“I think people would like to go back to Imola. It’s a dream for us, but we’re still dreaming!”

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