Not to be outdone by the Travis County commissioners and their probing questions, concerns and potential stalling of the USGP in Austin Texas; officials in Rome have thrown their own roadblock up. According to Reuters, the much ballyhooed Italian Grand Prix in the streets of Rome may have run into a snag. It has been rumored for a couple years now that Rome could play host to a street circuit race in F1 and I recall then FIA president Max Mosley even making a trip to Rome to suss out the possibility.
F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone has intimated that this could be a possibility but as things have tightened up on the F1 schedule with an unprecedented 20 races in 2011, one has to wonder if there is really room left for Rome when/if the USGP and the Russian GP are launched in 2012 and 2015. Rome’s mayor, Gianni Alemanno, says that it’s a close call:
“A majority, albeit not an overwhelming one, of EUR and Rome residents are in favour of the race,”
You can imagine that the folks at Monza are nonplussed about the idea of a competing grand prix in Italy and I can’t blame them. There is always the thought that Mr. E is just trumpeting this possibility to improve his negotiating position with the Monza organizers as well. It’s difficult to say but I am not sure I am convinced Italy needs another grand prix when there are a host of other locations that are desiring a single grand prix.
For my money, a grand prix of Rome would be additional weight for an already burgeoning schedule. Then of course 2015 is a long way off when the Russian GP comes on line. Many track could come and go by then so perhaps the magic number of “20” races a year is a target to shoot for and three new tracks are looking for a slot, three other circuits could face the axe by then. Again, it’s difficult to say but but we should know somethign on Rome by the end of the year according to Mayor Alemanno.