Monza: Going… going… g

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In the world of Formula One, nothing is sacred. The sport marches to the beat of those providing the dollars and if you are a nation prepared to spend tens of millions from the public purse, you can have an F1 Grand Prix.

This year we saw an iconic name fall from the race calendar, as TJ13 reported two days ago, the Nurburgring failed to meet Bernie Ecclestone’s demands for a hosting fee, by just 2-3 million euros.

F1 fans from the nation that once ruled the world, brought us parmesan cheese and the fine robust flavours of a Montepulciano are now seriously facing the prospect of losing the Cathedral of Speed from the annual weekend haunts of the F1 circus.

Enrico Ferrari had been running the Italian GP race organisation for many years and was a close friend and ally of Mr. E. But he was sacked along with 6 others following an alleged scandal over fraudulent tickets sales.  Those implicated included Director of the circuit along with the technical director Giorgio Beghella Bartoli, the accounting officer and the president of Franco Becchere Acp & Partners – Marco Villa Luca, who manages the sponsorship of the racetrack.

Ecclestone commented on at the time, “I do not understand what is really happening. I very much appreciate Enrico Ferrari, who for over twenty years I have dealt with over the contract for the Italian Grand Prix. It is thanks to him that Monza had a favourable financial arrangement when compared to all other European races. No F1 event costs as little on the continent as the Italian Grand Prix. Enrico is tough in business, but direct, competent and clean.“

Monza has always been offered a favourable arrangement in terms of hosting fees, believed to be less than half the 20 million euro’s Ecclestone is now demanding from the European circuits.

Storm clouds have been gathering on the horizon for some time in the foothills of the Italian lakeside region as the current F1 race contract expires in September this year.

Due to a change in Italian tax legislation, Monza have also been hit with an incremental 20 million annual tax bill as certain governmental rebates once offered have been withdrawn

Bernie Ecclestone is one who never forgets, and the removal of his friend and ally, Enrico Ferrari, from his position at the Autodromo was always likely to come home to roost

Today F1’s Supremo tells Gazzetta Dello Sport, “It’s a very simple situation. Two years ago I made a deal with one of the people who are no longer involved.

“For Monza we applied the same economic conditions of the other European circuits [€20M for every GP]. All done, all good, we shook hands, but after that meeting nothing happened.

“There is a contract for the 2015 race, but not for future seasons.

Given that Ecclestone’s deals are famed for being done on the shake of a hand, no one other than Enrico, can verify whether Bernie is offering the same terms now – or whether like for Austin – they have been inflated considerably.

Given Nurburgring’s failure to secure an F1 race for the sake of 3 million euros, the reality is bleak for Monza.

Rumours persist, that Ferrari are collaborating behind the scenes to provide an alternative venue in Scarperia. Though until an announcement is made, we can but hope the soul of speed; the pursuit in the park, will somehow retain the Italian GP.

But time is very short

Simply: Mugello of Monza???

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17 responses to “Monza: Going… going… g

  1. it is beyond comprehension that is systematically playing out.
    IMAGINE:
    Nascar w/o Daytona. Bristol and Richmond
    Indycar w/o Indy 500, Milwaulkee and Long Beach
    WEC w/o LeMan, Silverstone and Spa
    technology w/o Microsoft, Apple and Intel
    the EU w/o Greece, Spain and Portugal
    OK, a little levity and perspective here – forgive the brash ‘Murican 🙂

    seriously, how can our chosen fav sport be raped of the history and facilities of France, Germany AND Italy (with Spa regularly threatened too)??? I suggest this raping of everybody willing to bend over is un-sustainable on any level.

    is it really more profitable for Merc, Macca, RB and Ferrari to race in Korea, India, and Bahrain than in their own back yards?? I may be wrong, but I doubt it. IMHO, the worst thing to ever happen to F1 was the systemic destruction of FOCA. if the team narcissists had only looked at the BIG picture instead of the somewhat lessor issue of costs, we could have seen a true threat to the CVC/Bernie/FIA/Charlie/FOM juggernaut which is more interested in groping anybody of interest with no concern of contracting VD!

    would it not possibly be of mutual interest for the top half of the grid to “donate” a portion of their budget to assure the return and continued operation of the historical F1 races of many decades?? yeah. it would take a balls of steel while holding the nuclear red button that “we quit as of today and will sue for breach of contract Worldwide” mentality.

    weak and tentative peons never win the Battle, let alone the War…

    Rich

    • Dunno about “brash ‘Murican”?

      That sounds gentlemanly talk, to me, when it comes to the ways of F1 we are exhibited now.

      There is a brazenness unparalleled in any organization I have attended my thought upon, save those in the throes of dictatorial excess, desperation, and the fraught struggle to extend their third act, before natural conclusions are to fall down in the fourth.

      I lost track of what F1 is on about, and felt maybe I’d dropped the ball… before I figured, huh, okay, it’s plain chaos in the narrative arc now, and I better buy some popcorn.

      Usually, in playwriting anyhow, this is about the time the characters start to find anew what they are on about, whether new, or changed, or unchanged, or if they never meant anything at all.

      I’d say that that situation, if it is fair assessment, belies any putative claim to have any track, inside or outside, without levels of insight into the characters themselves that are almost unfair for anyone to possess.

  2. Maybe all other track owners could argue that F1 without its classics isn’t worth as much as before. You know, a collective approach to Ecclestone sucking every last penny from their already empty pockets.

  3. I have not watched the first races. Mainly because I no longer have cable TV but last year I did find streams and rebroadcasts online and catch up. I haven’t bothered looking this year. I also don’t watch because I’m tired of Bernie and his money. His habit of engaging his mouth before his brain is tiring on issues like women in the sport and most recently blaming Merc for the demise of F1. I understand he put his money behind Carmen Jorda. I wish he’d put it on Simona instead. I’m tired of Red Bull and their airing of dirty laundry.

    I know that Bernie created what F1 has become but I don’t think it will be all that long before he won’t be able to find new places to race. Didn’t the Olympics get turned down by potential host cities? I’m sure the same will happen for F1 more and more often. I’m glad to hear promoters quoted this week talking about a post Bernie era. It can’t come soon enough.

  4. What is the world of f1 coming too?…some tracks you just don’t mess with..and imho, this is one. If we are only left with the tilka tracks then so much for the history

  5. Mugello 2017.
    After the success RB had with the Austrian GP last year, a race they had complete control over, Ferrari want the same. There is no reason for Ferrari to invest in Monza, but they own Mugello, and any improvements made there to host the F1 race would have multiple benefits. Imagine Ferrari being able to sell to billionaire clients the ability to race their personal Ferrari on a current F1 track!
    I said this would happen last year, back when bernie first started grumbling about it, but when LdM was still in charge. Now that there is new management at Ferrari, I am not sure if it is less likely or more likely to happen, but I still think it will.

    Not to say Im happy about it..

  6. Ha, I had a dream last night, I was watching the Italian GP but was in Mugello… and a Ferrari won it… driven by Gutierrez because Kimi was sick.

  7. This isn’t right. Monza is as much a part of the sport as Ferrari is, or open wheel cars are. I cannot understand why in their twilight years these mooks are so uninterested in preserving their own legacy.

    Great picture by the way

  8. Love Monza as the primary place for F1 to lay the wings down and have a drafting party.

    Bernie’s (FOM’s) situation is interesting. In some ways, fees from fat cat circuits such as Abu Dhabi are covering for Monaco, Monza, Spa, and other low dollar (but valuable) circuits. But when he tries to squeeze Sepang, and other fat cat circuits, they now squeeze back (and rightly so).

    The breaking point of F1 is at the FOM entities, based upon their actions of the last few months. When Bernie gets squeezed, it gets dangerous and entertaining for everyone else, as we’ve seen. A pity for all of us.

  9. One of the problems here is that Formula 1 does not have real competition. Let’s suppose Formula 1 stops racing in Europe. Then what do Formula 1 fans do? They probably continue to watch F1 races on TV. What other open wheel competition exists? Formula E is shaping up to be a pretty good series, but it’s still in infancy and relatively unknown. IndyCar is completely lost and out F1s league. WEC is starting to look pretty good, but it’s also still in infancy and its 6+ long race format will turn down most of the casual fans. See the problem here? No F1 team and no F1 circuit can just slam the door and say “I quit!”. The alternatives are very poor.

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