• Italian Grand Prix

Ecclestone threatens to drop Monza after 2016

ESPN Staff
July 1, 2014 « Red Bull has engine options for 2016 | Renault wasting Red Bull's talent - Ricciardo »
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Bernie Ecclestone says F1 may drop Monza from the calendar after 2016 because of concerns over the commercial viability of one of the sport's most historic circuits.

The current extension to Monza's deal occurred in 2010 for the circuit which has hosted every world championship Italian Grand Prix, with the exception of the 1980 race. But Ecclestone is not happy with the terms of that deal and admits his concerns might be enough to drop the race altogether.

Speaking to Italian newspaper 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."

When asked about the possibility of the Italian Grand Prix being switched to Mugello, originally put forward by Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo, Ecclestone said no proposal had been received. Monza's struggles to put together a commercial package may be linked with the alarming drop of TV viewers in Italy, which Ecclestone thinks is because of Ferrari's recent downturn in fortunes.

"TV ratings are lower in Italy than elsewhere. TV channels have split with digital broadcasting, and there's also Twitter, Facebook and other communication means, so young people are more distracted. How to improve Italian ratings? If Ferrari started to end up first and second in qualifying and races... TV ratings would improve everywhere. Ferrari is worldwide passion."

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