Imola

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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.”