Ecclestone ‘agrees’ deal for Imola switch for Italian GP

Bernie Ecclestone involved with the Imola GP discussions - Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Representatives of Imola have signed an agreement with Bernie Ecclestone to run the Italian GP from 2017, but the plans will only go ahead if the country’s national sporting authority give its approval.

Automobile Club d’Italia president Angelo Sticchi Damiani has continue to support Monza despite the financial troubles the circuit has faced in recent years.

Imola have signed their side of the deal but until Ecclestone gets the ACI approval the deal won’t go through, with representatives of Imola meeting Ecclestone at the British Grand Prix to speak about the proposed changes.

Alternating between Imola and Monza was a proposed plan similar to the German Grand Prix if there was not an agreement, with Formula Imola president Uberto Selvatico Estense saying, “Bernie knows that we are available.

“And he sent us a proposal that we signed and sent back to him. We will be very happy to have F1 back in Imola. Our main effort is to achieve this kind of result.

“It just depends on Angelo Sticchi Damiani. I think it’s a political issue. We have an agreement with Bernie, and we only need the approval of the national sporting authority. If in the future there is not an Italian GP, it is only the problem of Mr Sticchi Damiani, who didn’t allow this agreement.”

Selvatico Estense says Imola also has the backing of the regional government: “Stefano Bonaccini, the president of the region Emilia-Romagna, is supporting us.

“He is a very pragmatic man and he said if you have the contract, Bernie is happy and the national sporting authority approves this agreement, we support you.  I think we don’t have too much time to decide. We are going on with the work, also without an answer from Mr Sticchi Damaini.

“I think we have until December, maximum. I think it’s the limit, but the best thing will be before so we have one year to promote the race.”

Imola will be upgraded and will be in good financial health if Formula One returns for the first time since 2006 according to Selvatico Estense.

“We restructured the company several years ago, and now we’re running the company in a good position. We are in a good status. We closed the last three balance sheets positive, with a good result, so we think we are in a strong position to ask for the GP.

“We think that in Imola we can have a great success with spectators. We are building up new facilities, we are building up a new press room, we are completing the project of Hermann Tilke that began in 2006. Right now we are moving the medical centre and building up a new one. We are doing a lot.”