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ACI ‘very close to an agreement’ over Italian GP future

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TURIN, Italy – Angelo Sticchi Damiani, the president of the Automobile Club d’Italia (ACI), is confident of resolving the future of the Italian Grand Prix in the near future.

The Autodromo Nazionale Monza has hosted all but one Italian Grand Prix since 1950, but its contract expires following the 2016 race on September 4.

F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone has long stated that despite its history, Monza’s place on the calendar is at risk if it cannot come to an agreement over a new deal.

The 85-year-old said over the European Grand Prix weekend that he would be happy to take the race to Imola, which hosted the San Marino Grand Prix until 2006.

Speaking at the opening of the FIA Sport Conference in Turin on Tuesday, Damiani admitted that agreeing a new deal for the Italian Grand Prix had been difficult, but is confident of agreeing terms shortly.

“Let’s say it is a difficult negotiation. It is the first time in Italy that it takes a burden to organise a Formula 1 grand prix with significant funds,” Damiani said.

“The fact that ACI is replacing the Automobile Club de Milano which is organising the grand prix this year is of course a revolution, a quite relevant one.

“However, thanks to the support of Lombardy, the regional authority, and hopefully also thanks to a national sponsor, although these have to be defined in the details, thanks to these supports, we managed to begin [negotiations] in February.

“Around Monte Carlo we found many common points with Ecclestone. There are things that still have to be defined, but I dare say we are very close to an agreement despite some actions which have not helped the negotiations – quite the opposite, it has made it difficult.”

Simon Pagenaud’s engineer relives 2019 Indy 500 victory on Twitter

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The Team Penske engineer for last year’s Indianapolis 500 winner is reliving Simon Pagenaud’s day by tweeting about what he was doing each moment a year later.

Starting with an observation that he awoke in his Indianapolis hotel room at 4:30 a.m., Ben Bretzman (@benbretzman) sent nearly two dozen tweets by 11 a.m. ET about how the morning before the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500 unfolded.

Bretzman was through the infield tunnel and in Gasoline Alley by 6 a.m. By 7:30 a.m., he was wondering if his driver was awake yet, but he had heard for the first time from Pagenaud 45 minutes later.

‘BACK HOME AGAIN’Sunday at 2 p.m. ET, NBC

FIERCE FRIENDSHIPPagenaud, Rossi recall epic battle of 2019 Indy 500

Among other highlights: The team’s last strategy meeting was at 8:30 a.m.; final check of the weather was at 9:30 a.m. and Bretzman gave the No. 22 Dallara-Chevrolet a once-over at 10:35 a.m. before it was pushed to the grid.

Follow @BenBretzman to watch the day unfold from the pit box and tune into “Back Home Again at 2 p.m. ET on NBC as Pageanud and Alexander Rossi, who are good friends off the track, recap their epic duel with host Mike Tirico.

Simon Pagenaud and engineer Ben Bretzman debrief at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IndyCar photo by Joe Skibinski).