Monza ready to sign deal to keep Italian Grand Prix until 2019

Italian Grand Prix chiefs expect to sign a new three-year contract with Bernie Ecclestone this weekend to keep the race at Monza, ending fears the race could drop off the calendar.

Monza ready to sign deal to keep Italian Grand Prix until 2019
Romain Grosjean, Lotus F1 E23 at the start of the race.
Start: Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W06 leads
Italian Air Force display
Start: Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W06 leads
Ferrari fans
Podium: race winner Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 Team, second place Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, third place Felipe Massa, Williams
Pastor Maldonado, Lotus F1 E23
Nico Hulkenberg, Sahara Force India F1 VJM08

During a press conference at the track on Wednesday, the head of the Italian motorsport federation (ACI), Angelo Sticchi Damiani, said a 68 million Euro agreement has been provisionally agreed to secure Monza's place on the calendar.

The final details of the contract that will run from 2017 to 2019 are still being finalised by lawyers, but it is hoped that a signing and announcement can be done over the Italian GP weekend.

While there has been much effort made to secure enough funding, in the end the local Lombardy Region has agreed to contribute around 15 million Euro to help close the contract.

Contract length

Although the length of the deal is less than is normal for new race contracts, Sticchi Damiani did not see it as a cause for concern, and it could actually help in the future if Italy is in a stronger position against other venues.

"There are those who expected a longer period, but if the system will work then a further renewal will not be a problem," he said.

"But there is another aspect. We know that Europe has so many organisers in crisis, while some destinations such as Turkey, Korea and India were short-lived.

"We have seen that it is a question of money, but also of culture. Here in Europe there is the 'DNA' of racing. So let's wait and see what happens."

Imola

While Imola is continuing to make a push to land the Italian Grand Prix, Sticchi Damiani said that he was happy Monza had come through.

"We did what we had to do," he said. "Imola would have been a good fallback solution if we had not arrived at a deal. And I did not see an alternation as a possibility because it would be illogical and would mean two organisers instead of none.

"When we get the signature, we can say that Ecclestone will have his choice. And the ACI's (Automobile Club of Italy) money is not state aid, but ACI money with the help of the Lombardy Region."

Monza chiefs also confirmed that there be a one-minute silence ahead of the Italian Grand Prix to remember the victims of the recent Italy earthquake.

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