Monza is in serious risk of losing the Italian GP from 2016 onwards. Bernie Ecclestone wants to more than double the race hosting fee, and the Italian government have cancelled a 20m euro tax rebate the circuit has been receiving.
Poor management has seen the circuit make little or no profit for some time and in 2014 it appeared that Mugello was ready to step up and take over from the Cathedral of Speed.
Ex-Ferrari chairman, Luce di Montezemolo, was looking to emulate Dietrich Mateschitz’s efforts with the Red Bull Ring circuit in Austria and make Mugello the second circuit owned by a Formula One team to host and F1 event.
Mugello is owned by Ferrari and the Tuscan venue this weekend hosts the MotoGP, which is expecting 140,000 spectators since the revival of Italy’s favourite two wheeled son, Valentino Rossi.
At the in season test in 2013, Mark webber tweeted: “Did 10 dry laps today around Mugello, which is the same as doing 1000 laps around Abu Dhabi track in terms of satisfaction.”
However, despite its incredible setting and undulating track, Mugello has been losing money in recent years and Omnicourse is reporting Sergio Marchionne is looking to move this Ferrari asset on.
This means it is unlikely that Mugello will now be replacing Monza, because possible buyers may not appreciate being lumbered with a multi year contract to host a probable loss making Formula One race.
Porsche had previously made a substantial bid to acquire the circuit in Scarperia, though were turned down by Montezemolo. He refused to sell a Ferrari asset to a competing brand. Porsche then acquired the Nardo test circuit instead.
Imola has been mooted as a possible replacement for Monza since they were awarded a 7.5m euro development budget for the facility in 2013. However, the circuit is a long way from Formula One standards and at present the funds to upgrade the track where Ayrton Senna died are just not forthcoming.
Sticchi Angelo Damiani, president of ACI Italy, has stepped up to the plate in a last ditch effort to save Monza being dropped form the F1 calendar. He has requested a meeting at Palazzo Chigi with Premier Matteo Renzi to find a way to save the Monza event.
It is thought that 10 million euros more is required to satisfy Ecclestone’s demands. Damiani has told Omnicourse that it will not be the president of the ICA who loses the Italian GP and he hopes to have a solution that will satisfy Mr. E.
Maurizio Arivabene has added his support to the cause. Speaking from Mugello this week he said, “It’s historic race… and must remain in calendar “