MILAN (AP) — Formula One may say goodbye to one of its most historic tracks at Monza, according to boss Bernie Ecclestone.
Monza’s current deal was agreed to in 2010 and Ecclestone said he believes it is unlikely to be renewed when it runs out at the end of 2016.
“Its future isn’t good,” Ecclestone said in an interview published by the Italian daily Gazzetta dello Sport on Tuesday. “I don’t think we’ll do another contract, the old one was a disaster for us from a commercial point of view. After 2016, bye bye…”
Monza, which first hosted an F1 race in 1922, is one of the most famous and beloved tracks on the circuit. Every Italian Grand Prix since 1950 has been held at the track except the 1980 race, which was held at Imola.
“Ecclestone’s comments on the Monza Grand Prix are worrying,” said Antonio Rossi of the Department of Sport and Youth Policy in the Lombardy Region. “As regional councilor I ask for the government to help us protect the Italian Grand Prix, which has played an important part in the history of Formula One and which, above all, plays an important economic role and brings jobs to the region.”
If Monza is dropped by F1, the Italian Grand Prix could be held at Mugello, a proposal that has been mooted by Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo. Ferrari owns the circuit.
Italy could also lose its race altogether due to the sport’s dwindling fan base in the country following numerous disappointing seasons for Ferrari.
“TV audiences are lower in Italy than elsewhere,” Ecclestone said. “If Ferrari starts placing first or second in qualifying and races … the audiences would increase everywhere. Ferrari is a worldwide passion.”