Italy fires warning about its two Formula 1 grand prix

Italy’s automobile association has warned that the country might find it difficult to keep both of its F1 races on the calendar in the coming years.

Monza, home to the fifth oldest national Grand Prix on the calendar, and Imola, which first hosted an F1 Grand Prix in 1980, are fan favourites due to their heritage in the sport.

Despite the legacy Italy has in the sport, Angelo Sticchi Damiani, President of the Automobile Club of Italy, has warned that the country is struggling to secure a new deal to keep the pair of races on the calendar beyond 2025. 

“We have to keep up with F1 and, to do so, we must evolve,” Damiani said.

“The challenge is to go beyond 2025, but we must have what it takes to do so.” 

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“We worked a miracle to have two races until 2025,” he added, “but you’d have to be very optimistic to think it will stay beyond that date.”

With Formula 1 growing in popularity around the world, particularly in America due to the Netflix series Drive to Survive, new requests for races risk knocking long-standing tracks from the calendar in the coming years.

Showing how tracks can easily lose their place, the FIA dropped the French Grand Prix from the 2023 calendar in favour of a third American race around a new street circuit in Las Vegas. 

The Belgian Grand Prix has also been cited as a potential casualty of the changes to the F1 calendar, with F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali having shown interest in reviving the South African GP at Kyalami in favour of the European race. 

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Even the historic Monaco circuit isn’t safe from F1 bosses, with debate over its future beyond 2025 despite its legendary status among fans and drivers.

“We invested 44 million last year, which went very well, but we still lost some money because of the very high running costs, regardless of the grand prix,” Damiani explained, highlighting the financial pressure of maintaining an F1 race. 

“Now our budget is starting to run into difficulties. We can’t be left alone in this challenge.”