F1 - Official says Monza deal now ’on the home straight’

Baku, June 23, AZERTAC

Italian automobile club (Aci) chief Angelo Sticchi Damiani says a new F1 race deal for Monza beyond 2016 is now "on the home straight", according to

Bernie Ecclestone admitted in Baku last weekend that reports another well-known Italian circuit - Imola - could poach the race are true.

The F1 supremo also warned that Italy could be left off the calendar altogether for 2017.

"Yes, I know," Sticchi Damiani told the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.

"We are completing the team of supporters, including a sponsor, to help the Aci in this significant expense," he revealed.

"We would have closed it earlier if there had not been other actions that brought a bit of confusion to the negotiations."

He is referring to Imola, who have been in negotiations with Ecclestone as well.

"Yes, but not only that," Sticchi Damiani admitted. "Imola started by saying ’If Monza does not make it, we are here’, which is absolutely correct.

"But then their position changed and it created a costly competition that was unnecessary. Because the stability law is for Monza," he added, referring to a dispute over funds.

Imola, however, has claimed that any funding put aside for Monza should also be available to Imola, otherwise it would be illegal state aid.

"That’s absurd," Sticchi Damiani declared. "The state is not paying a cent. Parliament authorised the Aci to use its money for the GP."

He also ruled out Imola’s suggestion that Monza and Imola annually alternate the race.

"The reason is simple," he said. "The sponsor that is interested wants to stay in one place, Monza."

Sticchi Damiani said he hopes the deal is done by July.

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