The Autodromo Nazionale di Monza has successfully negotiated an extension to its contract to host the Italian Grand Prix, pushing the deal from its previous 2012-end to 2016. The news comes after Bernie Ecclestone had openly discussed the possibility of the event moving to a street circuit around the city of the country’s capital, Rome. Ecclestone has been going through a bit of a street circuit phase in recent times, with additions like Valencia and Singapore being held on public roads.
For the drivers, street circuits provide a different challenge to traditional permanent facilities like Monza, with Monaco being not only one of the biggest challenges for a racing driver, but also (and arguably) the sport’s flagship event. However, Valencia hasn’t provided quite the same thrill in terms of racing spectacle and Singapore, while better, really has only one or two things going for it, chiefly the fact it is currently Formula One’s only 100% night race.
Although street circuits offer drivers, teams and fans a different type of grand prix, the traditional venues like Silverstone, Spa Francorchamps (which is now a permanent facility, I believe) and Monza are required to add contrast to the championship calendar. Generally faster with more variety in corners and overtaking possibilities, the old autodromes of Europe are still massively popular and make up the foundations of Formula One’s character.
The deal to keep the Italian Grand Prix at Monza is a wise move from Bernie Ecclestone and although the track may not be able to boast the kind of facilities that Abu Dhabi can, the circuit can easily offer more in terms of character, appeal and racing. Autodromo Nazionale di Monza has hosted the Italian Grand Prix since the championship’s inception in 1950, with the sole exception of 1980 event which was held at nearby Imola.
More information on Autodromo Nazionale di Monza can be found on the Italian Grand Prix page.
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