Ecclestone: Monza could lose Italian GP
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.
Luke Smith is the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Richland F1. Having started the website in March 2012, he has gone on to become one of the youngest members of the Formula 1 paddock after joining American broadcaster NBC Sports at the beginning of the 2013 season. Luke now works as the network's lead F1 writer, supporting the TV coverage on nbcsports.com. Luke's work has also been featured on NBC News, Yahoo! Sports, The Times, The Independent and Forbes, and he has also appeared on CNBC's TV series "One Second in F1 Racing".