Defending Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton doubts that the Autodromo Nazionale Monza will be cut from the sport due to its historic value.
Monza has hosted the Italian Grand Prix in all but one of the F1 world championship seasons, but is at risk of falling off the calendar due to financial uncertainty and an increasingly global outlook for the sport.
Most within F1 have condemned the possible loss of Monza, and Hamilton became the latest figure to lend his support to the Italian circuit when speaking over the Spanish Grand Prix weekend.
“Well there’s two sides to it,” Hamilton said. “You’ve got the actual circuit, which holds great historic value to the sport. Then you’ve got the fans, who ultimately make the weekend.
“You’ve got those few races through the year – Silverstone, Spanish Grand Prix, Italian Grand Prix, German Grand Prix – which to me are the foundation of the sport, particularly as you’ve got so many fans there.”
The Italian Grand Prix boasts one of the best atmospheres in F1 thanks to the loyal Ferrari fans – the ‘Tifosi’ – that make their way to the track each year.
“When you’re on the podium at the Italian Grand Prix, the whole straight is full of Ferrari fans,” Hamilton said. “You don’t get to see that in other places, so I think it’s important that we keep it.
“You lose the Italian Grand Prix, you lose all those fans. I can’t see it happening. I think ultimately it’s all politics and stuff which I’m sure will get sorted out.”
Monza’s contract expires following the 2016 edition of the race, and is set to retain its September slot for next season as per last month’s leaked calendar.
The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.
IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.
This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.
INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists
IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.
“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.
“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”
It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.