Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton have voiced their delight at hearing Monza has secured a new three-year deal to retain the F1 Italian Grand Prix.
Bernie Ecclestone and event organisers held a press conference at the circuit on Friday to confirm the Italian Grand Prix will remain at Monza for 2017, 2018 and 2019. One of the oldest-serving venues on the calendar, Monza's F1 future has nonetheless been under threat for more than 12 months as negotiations between Ecclestone and organisers continually broke down over hosting fees and upgrade demand disputes.
ITALIAN GP: Monza agrees new F1 deal until 2019
Despite the F1 supremo conceding the legal contract has yet been signed it has been agreed in effect, much to the joy of the drivers.
Vettel, who claimed his maiden F1 win with Toro Rosso in 2008 at the Italian circuit, has always heralded the place as very special both to him and Ferrari while being determined to make more history 'at home in the red suit'.
“It's really good news that Monza will stay for another three years,” Vettel said. “We need this track in the calendar, it's fantastic. Monza means history, tradition, racing.”
Hamilton echoed the German's sentiments as he targets a third consecutive race win at Monza to become just the second driver in history to achieve the feat after Juan Manuel Fangio (between 1953-55).
“I'm so happy. We can't ever lose this track; to see the fans here and the track is phenomenal, so unique.” Hamilton said. “This is part of the heritage of the sport, and if you lose this grand prix you lose a very big part of what F1 is.”
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Despite never claiming a race win around Monza, Raikkonen is determined to change that record and remarks how powerful the support is even before he raced for Ferrari.
“I enjoy the circuit, usually it's always a great weekend, even before I raced for Ferrari,” Raikkonen said. “I had some good memories and some not-so-good memories from here. It's never been straightforward weekends of races for me but it's a great place to come and, for racing, it's quite a special place.
“The circuit layout and obviously the history what is in the place, plus being part of Ferrari, we have amazing support and obviously our home race so hopefully this weekend goes well.”
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