Monza or Imola declared ‘at risk’ of F1 axe with key negotiations to come

Jamie Woodhouse
Race start at the 2022 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola.

Race start at the 2022 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

Automobile Club d’Italia president Angelo Sticchi Damiani has called for resistance to what he believes to be Formula 1 considering dropping either Monza or Imola from the calendar.

One of the most iconic circuits visited by Formula 1, Imola underwent an extended absence before its return in 2020 after stepping up during the pandemic era, the venue having hosted the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix yearly since, missing only 2023 due to severe flooding in the region.

ACI president suggests Imola or Monza ‘at risk’ of F1 axe

The F1 2024 calendar is made up of a record-breaking 24 rounds, though that does not satisfy the demand from promoters wanting a piece of the action, as Formula 1 continues to enjoy a surge in popularity.

And when it comes to looking at where new venues could fit into the schedule, Damiani feels European races are particularly vulnerable, especially Italy’s considering they have two spots on the calendar with Monza and Imola. Crucial negotiations with the series are therefore on the horizon.

Speaking ahead of the 2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Damiani said: “There is some thinking to be done with Formula 1 obviously.

“The situation is obviously complex, there would be the hope, which we would like to work on, of recovering 2023 in 2026. That would be another small step forward and then everything depends very much on what will happen in Europe in the next two to three years.

“There are changes going on, new candidates, someone is a bit at risk.

“The picture is not only national, it is international and especially European. It is clear that when we talk about taking grands prix away from Europe, we are thinking of those who have two, this seems obvious to me. We must resist.”

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And there is no doubt that Imola will be up for the battle, with Emilia-Romagna president Stefano Bonaccini putting his certainty on record that the race will remain on the F1 calendar.

“When we brought Imola back they told us it was impossible,” he said.

“After 110 years of history, we brought the first stages of the Tour de France to the start and they told us not to even try, that it was impossible. The Davis Cup came and they told us it was impossible because they were taking it away.

“Rest assured that the Imola Grand Prix will remain here.”

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen has been victorious in the two most recent visits to Imola, as the Dutchman looks to get back on track this time around after Lando Norris’ shock victory in Miami.

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