ACI president says Imola F1 switch unlikely

At the 2016 FIA Sport Conference, ACI president Angelo Sticchi Damiani counters recent rumours that the Italian Grand Prix will move from Monza to Imola

Despite recent speculation that the 2016 Italian Grand Prix would be the last held at the pista magica that is the Monza circuit, according to the president of the Automobile Club d'Italia, funding makes a move to Imola highly unlikely.

Speaking at the opening press conference of the FIA’s Sport Conference in Turin, Italy, ACI president Angelo Sticchi Damiani explained that state funding for the Italian Grand Prix was legally committed to the Autodromo Nazionale Monza. 

"Monza because in the Italian financial law it is written that the grand prix should be Monza, not Imola,” Damiani explained. "The involvement of the Automobile Club of Italy, who is involved directly in the running of the grand prix starting next year, is for an Italian Grand Prix running in Monza, not in Imola. This is a new law, a financial law, that was approved at the beginning of the year.”

Damiani conceded that the ongoing negotiations over Monza’s contract renewal have been challenging. 

“Let’s say it is a difficult negotiation,” he said. “It is the first time in Italy that it takes a burden to organise a Formula One grand prix with significant funds. The fact that ACI is replacing the Automobile Club Milan - which is organising the grand prix this year - is of course a revolution, a quite relevant one. Thanks to the support of the Lombardy regional authority, and hopefully also thanks to a national sponsor - although these have to be defined in the details - thanks to these supports, we managed to begin [negotiations] in February.

“In Monte Carlo we found many common points with [Bernie] Ecclestone. There are things that still have to be defined, but I dare say we are very close to an agreement despite some actions which have not helped the negotiations. Quite the opposite, it has made it difficult.”