This should send shivers – or at least potential shockwaves – through the Formula One paddock.
Bernie Ecclestone has told Italy’s Gazzetta Dello Sport he doesn’t see the Italian Grand Prix remaining at Monza past the end of its current contract, which expires in 2016.
“It’s not good. I don’t think we’ll do another contract, as the old one has been disastrous for us from a commercial point of view,” Ecclestone told the paper, via the Associated Press.
“So it’s bye-bye after 2016.”
Poor local ratings in Italy and the aforementioned lack of commercial value according to Ecclestone would be cited as the reasoning. A new contract would have to be struck that makes better financial sense to the FOM supremo, it would appear.
Of course, if passion and fever were the only rating that measured a Grand Prix, Monza would be top of the list. It’s hosted every Italian Grand Prix since 1950 with the exception of 1980, when the race was held at Imola.
The tifosi haven’t had much to cheer about with Ferrari’s struggles this season; meanwhile there hasn’t been an Italian driver on the grid since Jarno Trulli was bounced from Caterham just before the 2012 season.
On Monday, the Formula 1 schedule finally allowed teams to be in Europe before heading to Abu Dhabi for this weekend’s season finale.
And as such, that provided a window for now four-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton to return to the Mercedes AMG Petronas factories in Brackley and Brixworth to be celebrated for taking the driver’s title, as Hamilton an Valtteri Bottas delivered Mercedes its fourth straight constructor’s title.
Hamilton was at Brixworth, the home of Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains (HPP) and its highly successful Mercedes-Benz Power Units first before heading to Brackley, where he was welcomed with a “guard of honor” as the entire team came out to greet him.
The champion was overwhelmed at the response and the welcome.
“This a very emotional day. I was not expecting this, thanks everyone for the warm welcome,” he said. “Today is something that I will never forget, turning up at the front gate of the factory and seeing everyone out on the street to welcome me – I’m blown away.
“This has been an incredible year, it’s been an incredible journey together. There’s a huge amount of respect and appreciation I have for everyone. I’ve been in the sport for a long time now, but to see the work ethic in Brixworth and Brackley really inspires me. Every time I come around, I see everyone operating at 100%, which encourages me to bring my best performance.
“Thank you all for helping me achieve my dreams, it would not have been possible without you. This is the best championship year, because we’ve been fighting another team and because we’ve had the difficulties and challenges we’ve had – that just makes it so much greater.”
A social roundup of images and videos are below, all via Hamilton and the Mercedes team on social media.