Imola has begun discussions with Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone to save the Italian Grand Prix if Monza is unable to secure a fresh contract for 2017. Imola has not hosted an F1 race since it held the San Marino Grand Prix in 2006, prior to a circuit revamp that took place in 2007. Daniele Manca, the city's mayor, met with F1 supremo Ecclestone in London to discuss the possibility of the track getting a grand prix back. Monza officials met with Ecclestone in Monaco last month to try to push forward a deal, but it has become clear that discussions will not resume until the necessary finances are in place. Several times Ecclestone made it clear that he wants Monza paying the same as other Eurioean venues to host the race after its current contract expires next year.
Fans have been open about the criticism with potentially losing the Italian Grand Prix and is a driving force behind why Imola chiefs are now looking to push for their own solution to keep the country on the F1 list. Uberto Selvatico Estense, President of Formula Imola, and Stefano Manara, president of CON.AMI were also present in the meeting with Ecclestone.
In an interview with Motorsport.com, Manca said: "We wanted to show Ecclestone how willing Imola was to get Formula 1 back, but also do our part to keep the grand prix in Italy. We presented our plan to relaunch the circuit, outline the investments we have made and what we plan to do in the coming years with our infrastructure."
Manca claimed that Ecclestone was open to ideas of a 2017 return despite Imola not coming anywhere near being able to put a fresh F1 deal together recently.
"Bernie told us that he never wanted to go away from Imola and he must remember that Enzo Ferrari originally asked him to organise a grand prix on our circuit. There are issues to sort out and one factor is obviously the economy. But Ecclestone has agreed to check the timeframe and conditions under which it would be possible to get F1 back to Imola. The target is 2017."