Italy could become the second country on the Formula 1 calendar to welcome two races per season, should plans be approved for a street-based grand prix to be held around the outskirts of its historic capital of Rome.
Following successful street races in Valencia and Singapore last year, erstwhile Formula Two ace and World Superbike Championship promoter Maurizio Flammini has reformulated an initiative he first came up with more than two decades ago back in 1984.
“It's an idea Flammini has proposed,” a city spokesman is quoted as having told UK newspaper The Guardian
, “and mayor Gianni Alemanno has said it is possible.”
Flammini revealed his desire for a race to be held in Rome from 2011, but first the plans would need to be approved by F1 commercial rights-holder Bernie Ecclestone, who has no shortage of countries worldwide clamouring for the honour of hosting a grand prix, with South Korea and India already set to join the calendar in 2010 and 2011 respectively. A new race in Russia and a return to both North America and France are also believed to be in the pipeline for the near future.
Only Spain currently welcomes the sport twice a year, courtesy of Barcelona and Valencia, whilst both Germany and Japan are alternating venues. Italy used to hold two grands prix a season, until Imola in San Marino disappeared from the schedule after 2006.
Were the project to be accepted, Rome would join Monaco, Valencia and Singapore in the street circuit portfolio, with suggestions that Paris and even London are similarly keen to build new F1-standard city-based tracks. Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo, however, is not convinced it is the right way to go.
“At least Monaco has its own history,” the Italian reasoned, “but to have three or four Monacos is too much.”