Bernie Ecclestone has dropped a bombshell on the F1 community today by threatening to take the Italian Grand Prix away from its spiritual home of Monza when its contract expires after the 2016 race.
The circuit has played host to all but one Italian Grand Prix since 1950, and has been used more times than any other circuit since the inauguration of the Formula 1 world championship. However, in an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport, Ecclestone revealed that it is no longer in his interests to keep the race at the Milanese circuit.
“It’s not good,” he said. “I don’t think we’ll do another contract, as the old one has been disastrous for us from a commercial point of view, so it’s bye-bye after 2016.”
It is thought that the logical alternative would be Mugello, with the circuit being owned by Ferrari. However, Ecclestone has threatened to axe a number of races in the past, including the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. In the end, it underwent significant redevelopment and now holds a contract that takes the race past 2026.
Monza has played such a big part in the history of the sport, and is a favourite among the fans and drivers. If the race were to leave, it is likely that there would be considerable uproar.
However, it must be noted that this is not the first time Ecclestone has threatened to strip Monza of the race. He has flirted with the idea of a street race in Rome before, and this could also be an outside option should Mugello not get the nod.
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic.