It’s contract negotiation time again and you know what that means—ruffing up the incumbent. It’s a playbook that been used for quite a while but it wouldn’t be if it weren’t so effective.
Monza has yet to renew its contract with Formula 1 and that means that F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone has taken to the press to ruff up the circuit for not writing a check (cheque) for the sanctioning fee to host the race.
It’s all pretty typical fare but this time there is a bit of a twist. I’m not suggesting the twist will change the course of history but it may change the location for the Italian Grand Prix.
It seems the best way to get Monza talking is to ruminate on the majesty and wonderment of the old Imola circuit which last hosted a race in 2006. This time Ecclestone says that Imola has reached out to him to offer an alternation plan in Italy—something that Germany was supposed to be doing but as you can see by the lack of a German Grand Prix this year, that isn’t working too well either.
“Imola proposes an alternation with Monza. It can be done.
“I want Italy to stay on the F1 calendar at all costs, but while Imola has contacted me, I haven’t heard anything from Monza for a month.”
“There is a will to save the Italian GP, but the money is lacking.
“The people I’ve spoken with haven’t even asked me for some time in order to decide. We just left each other like that, hanging.
“It’s useless to keep on talking. In order to have a grand prix, you need money. If the money is there, the race takes place.”
The loss of Monza would be a real blow to F1 fans who revere the circuit as hallowed ground in F1 lore. While Imola also has a role to play in the history of F1, it’s not usually been at the expense of the grand prix in Monza. Would an alternating program work for F1 fans? It didn’t seem to trouble them when Germany decided that the Nurburgring didn’t need a yearly grand prix.
There is another concern and that’s the parsing of races within a country. Effectively this must mean that the circuits can’t afford the yearly expense so the revenue isn’t there and we’ve beat that dead horse to death in other editorial pieces. So what does Monza say about the situation? Apparently nothing.
There is the Mugello circuit as well but Ecclestone says that’s a non-starter as there is no money there. He does take time to share his thoughts on Imola as a real possibility:
“How can I forget the town’s participation, the joy on the faces of the tifosi, the enjoyment tied to that venue? Imola has kept a place in my heart,” said Ecclestone.
“Imola was a nice experience that could live again, once Monza’s contract expires at the end of 2016.
“Enzo Ferrari suggested to me the race there, just a stroll from Bologna. He cared for it very much.
“It’s nice to talk about it again now, we have the good intentions, and the basis too.”
How would you feel about skipping a year between Monza races if the alternative was Imola? Good idea? Bad idea? Couldn’t care less?
Hat Tip: AUTOSPORT