Italian GP: Monza or Imola…or both?

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Imola or Monza? What’s it going to be for the Italian Grand Prix. A few reports, some more intelligible than others, have popped up about a signed deal with Imola and now a green light for Monza to sign their deal as well. It’s not the fault of trusted F1 news journalists that their stories are tough to understand, it’s that the situation is very difficult to understand and they’ve done the best they can to explain it.

One of the better pieces I have found so far on the subject is, no surprise here, Mark Hughes over at Motorsport Magazine. He’s unpacked not just the situation of a possible two-race scenario in Italy but perhaps even a bigger reason for what may be going on in the power struggle of F1, team payouts and Mr. Eccelstone’s motivation. Check it out here.

All of this is to say that the Monza group have been haggling over a new contract with formula One Management (FOM) and they now say they are prepared to make a viable offer to Mr. E to get the deal done.

Meanwhile, Mr. E says he has a signed deal with Imola for a race there and while he has been saying in the press that he’s been working on it, it was often times just referred to as a ruse to put pressure on Monza to sign. Now it seems that it might not have been.

The lynch pin in this is Angelo Sticchi Damiani, the President of the Italian motor sport governing body. He has been working to get the Monza deal signed and says that it is ready to move forward but Mr. E says that his deal with Imola is done but here’s the kicker, it needs to also be signed off on by Damiani. Got that? Those Italians can make things slightly complicated, no?

But there is another undertow to the story that Mark offers and I won’t cut-n-paste his words but rather direct you to the link below so you can read his fine wordsmithing and thoughts. It, effectively, has to do with the struggle over control of F1 and the magic 18-race calendar. If the calendar drops below 18 races, then all of the team deals he has will be void and this could be a way of negating the deals and starting over. Mark lays out an interesting thought on this so check it out.

Hat Tip: Motorsport Magazine

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Tom Firth
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Tom Firth

Mr Damiani sounds much more interesting than the signature required for the US race of Mr Craw. Nothing odd with that, the ASN always has to sign.

As for the two deals, It’s typical Bernie politics, what he’s playing for is a little more untypical as Mark Hughes refers to but one way or another, we have an ‘Italian GP’ and its in the hands of Monza to make a deal work.

Coji
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A couple things, I thought Canada just re-signed, yet it’s listed in the article as doubtful. Baku could be cut after one race? That’s fine given it was boring, but a bad example for future races in other locations.

Also, in what way are TV rights intertwined into Monza’s contract? Does the TV provider pay for part of the funding for that race, and if there are fewer races the would be obligated to pay less to F1? It doesn’t quite make sense but probably nobody knows definitively.

Tom Firth
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Tom Firth

Canada signed again in 2014 for ten years, but are doubts over that deal. CBC, Canada’s national broadcaster which I assume is what Mark is referring to, ran an article recently that the deal was subject to facilities upgrades being completed before 2017, which apparently puts the whole deal at risk. The others sound like potential risks too, It is a lot of if’s and buts but are stories attached to each as to why won’t be on the calendar. F1 like most sports will have contracts that say you have to deliver x numbers of events a year as… Read more »

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I’m surprised USGP is not on that list of 2017 venues with question marks. I still think it’s Bernie’s preferred technique of divide and conquer then cash the bigger check.