The Italian Grand Prix will continue to be staged at the historic Monza parkland circuit for at least another six years following confirmation that officials had agreed an extension to its current Formula One contract.

Doubts had been raised over Monza's future on the F1 schedule after Bernie Ecclestone recently underlined his intention to bring a grand prix to the streets of Italian capital Rome, but the latest news suggests that any addition to the calendar would be as a second event in the same country.

That practice had largely been dropped by Ecclestone's FOM and F1's governing body, the FIA, when it became clear just how many new countries wished to stage a grand prix but, having seen two races in Germany at the height of Michael's Schumacher's F1 domination, the powers that be allowed Spain to add a second race, on the roads around Valencia's America's Cup port, to reflect the ascendancy of double world champion Fernando Alonso.

"The Italian Grand Prix will be at Monza until 2016," circuit operator SIAS chief Claudio Vigano told Reuters reporters, "The extension of the contract has been signed."

Where this leaves Rome remains to be seen, but Ecclestone appears set on adding the city to the schedule, possibly from 2013 [see story here]. He revealed in January that an agreement had been signed to stage the race, having previously inked an interim agreement with organiser Maurizio Flammini. The proposed race continues to face protests from environmental and other groups.

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