Ferrari backs one GP per nation limit
Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo says a push to ensure that nations do not have more than one grand prix each per season is right for Formula 1 – even if it ends Rome's dreams of holding an F1 race on its streets.
The famous Italian city has been angling for an F1 date in recent years and promising a spectacular and picturesque street course, but it had hoped to be a second Italian event rather than a replacement for the much-loved and historic Monza track.
Last week Italian newspapers reported that Bernie Ecclestone had written to Rome's mayor saying that the only way the city would get an F1 race was if Monza dropped off the calendar or an arrangement was made for the two venues to hold the Italian GP in alternate years – a move that was seen to have killed off the Rome project.
Di Montezemolo has backed Ecclestone's stance, saying that the teams are agreed that the calendar cannot expand beyond the 20-race mark it will reach this year, and that countries new to F1 must take priority over extra races in established markets.
"The teams’ view is not to exceed a certain number of races per year – already the season goes on forever,” said di Montezemolo.
“The preference is to have grands prix in new countries in important markets, first off in the United States, rather than have two races in Germany, Spain, or eventually Italy.
"Therefore, Ecclestone’s letter is not a failure for Rome, but the awareness that there is a desire to have just one grand prix in Italy."
Italy hosted two grands prix per year from 1981 to 2006, with Imola holding a race under the San Marino GP title.
Spain is currently the only nation with two grands prix, with the Spanish GP itself taking place at the Catalunya track and the European GP running on the Valencia street circuit.
Other countries that have previously held multiple GPs per year include Britain, America, France, Japan and most recently Germany – where the popularity of Michael Schumacher led to both Hockenheim and the Nurburgring getting F1 races from 1995 to 2006.
Di Montezemolo said Ferrari was open to the possibility of Rome and Monza alternating, as Hockenheim and the Nurburgring now do, but only if a deal could be reached that did not diminish Monza.
"We would need to see if that suits Ecclestone, if the conditions are right, if the two cities can agree, while not forgetting that Monza is a permanent circuit that is part of the history of Formula 1," he said.