Moves to stage a grand prix around the historic streets of Rome would not come at the expense of Italy's traditional Formula 1 host of Monza, it has been underlined – as the Lombard town's mayor accused the capital of trying to 'steal' the race away.
It was revealed last week that erstwhile Formula Two star and current World Superbike Championship promoter Maurizio Flammini had put forward a proposal to welcome the sport to Rome's outskirts [see separate story – click here
], provoking the opposition of Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo and eliciting an angry response from Monza Mayor Marco Mariani.
The iconic and much-loved Autodromo Nazionale di Monza has been the venue for the Italian Grand Prix every year since 1981, and in the 59-year official history of the F1 World Championship has welcomed the top flight on all bar one occasion, making it one of the longest-running events on the calendar.
Though the chances of a country holding more than one race a season have been significantly reduced by the recent plethora of new countries around the world clamouring for the honour of staging a grand prix – with only Spain currently boasting two – Enrico Gelpi, president of Italian sanctioning body ACI, insists there is no cause for concern.
“The Italian Grand Prix is staying at Monza,” he urged in an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport
. “Even Flammini acknowledges that a Rome Grand Prix must not interfere with the one of Monza.”
“The Grand Prix in Monza is untouchable because it is part of the history of the sport,” added former Minardi – now Scuderia Toro Rosso – team owner Giancarlo Minardi, speaking to minardi.it