Rome has officially abandoned its plans to stage a round of the FIA Formula One World Championship.
Gianni Alemanno, mayor of Rome, told reporters on Friday in a press conference that the city would now focus all its efforts on securing the Olympic Games in 2020. The decision comes after F1 boss, Bernie Ecclestone effectively withdrew his support in a letter that was leaked to Italian newspaper La Repubblica
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]. To summarise, in that correspondence Ecclestone said Monza would always take precedence over Rome given its history. Mr E also added that at a time when F1 was pushing to expand into new regions, the idea of two races in one country wasn't practical. Indeed while Spain currently welcomes F1 in both Barcelona and Valencia, the latter is expected to rotate the European Grand Prix banner with circuits in other countries in the near future.
“We formally and definitely give up on the hypothesis of a Formula One Grand Prix in Rome,” Alemanno said according to reports by the Daily Telegraph
“This move represents a step backwards because we have always said we would have done so, should the FIA have posed an alternative between Rome and Monza. However, we have an Olympic dream that is still going on: so let's make clear to Italy and to the world that we want to stage the games in Rome.”
The bid for a Rome GP had been led by Maurizio Flammini, a former Formula Two front-runner and World Superbike Championship promoter. He has been planning the event for the last few years and recently revealed that a date had been pencilled in for 2013, despite local opposition and opposition from both Monza – which had vowed to do everything in its power to protect its tenure of iis grand prix – the sport's traditionalists and Ferrari, whose team principal Stefano Domenicali had stressed that 20 races this year is the 'right number', and that there should be just one spot on the F1 schedule per country.
There had been some suggestion Rome and Monza might alternate holding the Italian Grand Prix, like the German GP is shared between Hockenheim and the Nurburgring, but unsurprisingly, the organisers of the event in the north were never keen.