Reports: Monza closing in on new F1 contract


The Autodromo Nazionale Monza is poised to sign a new contract to host the Italian Grand Prix according to recent reports.

Monza has hosted all but one Italian Grand Prix since 1950, and is widely regarded as one of the most iconic and legendary circuits on the Formula 1 calendar.

Its future as the host of the race been thrown into doubt recently due to dwindling attendances and a recent change in tax legislation that affected the funding of the grand prix.

Bernie Ecclestone said last year that the race had been “disastrous for us from a commercial point of view”, and with Imola reportedly bidding to become the next host, it appeared that Monza’s time in F1 would end upon the expiration of its contract in 2016.

However, according to recent reports, a breakthrough has been made in negotiations that could see a new contract be signed as early as next month.

According to a report from La Gazzetta dello Sport, the Italian government has approved a tax-free investment that will allow the race to remain at Monza.

“We can do it by early September,” governor Roberto Maroni said. “With this tax free investment we can close the deal with [Bernie] Ecclestone.

“The grand prix has to stay at Monza, because Monza is Monza.”

Maroni also appeared on Radio Monte Carlo earlier this week, and said that there was a 90% chance of the race remaining at Monza before explaining the change in legislation.

“90%, the grand prix is saved,” he said.

“The good news is that finally, after many attempts, the senate has approved a change of legislation, allowing the Lombardy Region to clear the Monza circuit from paying €10m of taxes.

“This money can be put towards saving the grand prix and renewing the agreement.”

NTT re-signs as IndyCar title sponsor in multiyear deal starting with the 2024 season

James Black/Penske Entertainment

The IndyCar Series has re-signed NTT as its title sponsor in a multiyear agreement starting in 2024.

NTT, a global information technology and communications company based in Japan, became the series’ title sponsor before the 2019 season after starting as a sponsor of the No. 10 Dallara-Honda for Chip Ganassi Racing.

NTT Data (a subsidiary of parent company Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp.) will remain the official technology partner of IndyCar, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Indy 500 and the NASCAR Brickyard weekend.

With the extension, an IndyCar spokesman said NTT would become the second-longest title sponsor in series history. The longest title sponsor was PPG from 1980-97 (under the CART sanction of the Champ Car Series).

NTT replaced Verizon, which was IndyCar’s title sponsor from 2014-18 after IZOD from 2010-13.

“NTT is an excellent partner across our enterprise with strong expertise and a deep commitment to our sport,” Penske Corp. chairman and IndyCar owner Roger Penske said in a release. “From Smart Venue technology at the Racing Capital of the World to the reimagined Series mobile application, NTT is transforming the fan experience in new and innovative ways. We look forward to a bright future together.”

NTT has used artificial intelligence-enabled optical detection technology at IMS to provide information to the track’s operations and security teams, helping improve fan traffic flow and safety, the track said.

“IndyCar is a great partner for NTT Data because of our shared commitment to driving innovation, increasing sustainability and delivering amazing experiences,” NTT Data CEO Kaz Nishihata said in a release. “We also appreciate how IndyCar is so diverse, with drivers from 15 different countries, and races that range from short ovals and superspeedways to road and street courses. It’s both an incredible sport and a wonderful example for our world.”

NTT also has been instrumental in helping redesign the IndyCar app and providing more race and driver data for use in NBC Sports’ broadcasts by utilizing 140 data points from every car in the field.

“NTT is fully invested in the development and growth of our sport and has already established a terrific track record in our industry with problem-solving capabilities and access to top talent and tools,” Penske Entertainment president and CEO Mark Miles said.

Said NTT Data Services CEO Bob Pryor: “We’re thrilled to continue our collaborations that enhance and expand the fan experience for motorsports and serve as proof points for data analytics, AI, and other innovative digital technologies. For more than a century, this racing series has pioneered innovations making driving safer for everyone, and by continuing this relationship, we will accelerate the pace of innovations and new technologies, particularly related to sustainability that ultimately can benefit organizations, communities and individuals around the world.”

Starting as a Japanese telephone company, NTT grew into a $100 billion-plus tech services giant with U.S. operations based in Plano, Texas.