Rome has signed a contract to hold a round of the FIA Formula One World Championship in the not-too-distant future, it was confirmed on Friday ahead of this weekend's F1 2010 Italian Grand Prix at Monza.
It is understood that the first Rome Grand Prix around the streets of the Italian capital will take place in 2012 or 2013 and that F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone and organiser Maurizio Flammini have agreed a five-year deal: "Congratulations for the results he (Flammini) has delivered," said Rome mayor Gianni Alemanno. "I hope Rome's Grand Prix can start in 2012."
Before the race gets the go ahead however, it will need to gain the consent from the region's local EUR district: "There are problems because we have to reach full agreement with the inhabitants of EUR," Alemanno added. "[But] we have an agreement at the international level. There are no certainties, but our promise is very solid."
The news meanwhile has not been welcomed by the organisers of the Italian Grand Prix, although Rome will be an addition to the schedule, rather than a replacement for the historic Autodromo Nazionale di Monza.
"Where once it was difficult to find sponsors, now it will be impossible," Monza boss Enrico Ferrari told Italian newspaper, La Stampa
. "The big companies have a budget, so if today they were giving us E100, tomorrow they will give us E50 and Rome E50."