• Italian Grand Prix

Drivers stand up for Monza against Ecclestone

ESPN Staff
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Several Formula One drivers have warned against dropping Monza from the Formula One calendar after 2016, as has been suggested by Bernie Ecclestone this week.

Talking to Gazzetta dello Sport, Ecclestone said: "I don't think we'll do another contract, the old one was a disaster for us from a commercial point of view. So it's bye bye after 2016." However, top-level drivers have spoken about the need to keep Monza on the calendar, with Kimi Raikkonen labelling Ecclestone's suggestions as "stupid".

"You hear how they might drop that race, it would be very stupid in my opinion for Formula One and for everybody," he said. "Hopefully it will never happen. But we are not the guys who decide those things, and for Ferrari it is an important place."

Lewis Hamilton warned against removing tracks that appeal to the fans.

"I think it's important not to forget that this sport would not exist if it wasn't for the fans," he said. "Obviously there are certain business decisions people make but there's tracks we've been to where there's been no one in the grandstands and there's a few, particularly, which are very very special like Monza where you have a full.. you know, the circuit's just full of fans and it really does make the event. I think it's important that we try and keep that in the sport."

But Fernando Alonso suggested Ecclestone's comments should be taken with a pinch of salt.

"I think we need to wait and see what happens officially," he said. "I think he just answered a question to a journalist and they put that in a newspaper, so this combination is not official at all. We just need to wait and see what is the future for some races. Obviously we don't have any input on that, so we just try to put a good show in every place we race."

More reaction to Ecclestone's comments here.

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