Lewis Hamilton believes that, despite ongoing wrangling over its future, the Italian Grand Prix will be preserved as part of the F1 schedule. Moreover, the world champion believes that it should
Hamilton joined F1 rivals Fernando Alonso and Nico Rosberg
in putting his name on the positive side of the debate, which the sport's supremo, Bernie Ecclestone, perpetuated in the break between the Bahrain and Spanish grands prix.
Despite being one of the sport's oldest and most iconic venues, Monza faces the axe following next year's Italian Grand Prix as race organisers and Ecclestone haggle over a new contract. The former say they cannot afford an increase in hosting fees, while Ecclestone
remains steadfast in his demands. Without an agreement – or outside financial help for the organisers – the event could go the same way as both the French – which disappeared in 2009 – and German grands prix, the latter having already dropped off the 2015 schedule on financial grounds.
While Ecclestone, at his most hard-nosed, does not appear concerned by the potential loss of Monza from the schedule, Hamilton – twice a winner at the circuit - insists that it needs to remain.
“There's two sides to it,” he explained, “You've got the circuit, which holds great historic value to the sport and then you've got the fans, which ultimately make the weekend.
“You've got those few races through the year – the Silverstone grand prix, the Spanish Grand Prix, the Italian Grand Prix, the German Grand Prix – which, it feels to me, are the foundation to the sport, particularly as you've got so many fans there. When you stand on the podium at the Italian grand Prix, the whole straight is filled, mostly with Ferrari fans, but fans, and you don't get to see that at other places, so I think it's important that we keep that. If you lose the Italian Grand Prix, you lose all those fans…”
Despite the apparent negativity of the situation – Ecclestone has allowed that the Italian race could continue elsewhere should Monza not be able to resolve their dispute over figures – Hamilton believes that the grand prix will remain at the historic autodromo
“I can't see it happening to be honest,” he said of the race's potential disappearance, “I think, ultimately, it's all politics and stuff which, I'm sure, will get sorted out.”