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F1 news

Report: Monza does everything possible to keep GP with big multi-million rebuild

Italy currently enjoys two grands prix on the F1 calendar. A huge stroke of luck in a world where many countries are fighting hard to host one GP in the country. However, it is becoming increasingly likely that Monza or Imola will soon lose its spot on the Formula 1 calendar, and so Monza has decided to give the circuit a major upgrade.

Monza Lavori updateal20maggio Press 13
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To news overview © AG PHOTO

We travelled to the Autodromo di Monza, or Monza F1 circuit, after the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. The Italian GP will be held there later this year, so we will have two races on Italian soil in 2024. 

Many F1 fans think the race is there because F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali likes it that way. It is often forgotten, however, that both Imola and Monza could switch gears quickly during the Covid year in 2020. The successful event at Imola ensured then that the FOM and the circuit came to an agreement on staying longer on the calendar.

By the end of 2025, however, the contracts of both Italian circuits expire and so Italy fears that one of the two GPs will no longer be run. Domenicali also indicated recently that he thinks it will be difficult to see two races a year on Italian soil starting in 2026. 

So with that, one of the two races seems to disappear or at best, they will adopt a rotation system. Then, one year the Italian GP would be held at the Imola circuit and the following year at Monza, or vice versa. 

Monza, however, appears to be opting to enforce a long-term contract with a major investment. Indeed, the organisation of the Grand Prix, in the name of the president of the Italian motorsports federation Angelo Sticchi Damiani hopes for a 10-year contract.

"Like the organisation of the Hungarian GP, we also hope to conclude a long-term contract of, say, 10 years. That way you have much longer time to recoup the big investments," the Italian told RacingNews365, among others. 

These big investments have been made by the organisation together with the Italian government and are clearly visible when we take a lap of the famous circuit that is located near Milan. In January the entire asphalt was removed and the foundation under the asphalt was also replaced, in order to be completely up to date. 

Right now (Tuesday, May 21, 2024), there are already two layers of asphalt in most parts of the circuit. The third and final layer will soon follow, as Monza hopes to have the circuit in order by the end of June.

The article continues below the photos of the visit to the Autodromo di Monza.

			© AG PHOTO
	© AG PHOTO
			© AG PHOTO
	© AG PHOTO
			© AG PHOTO
	© AG PHOTO

In addition, in the first chicane we see that at the second part of the chicane the asphalt strip has been widened. This has been done to ensure that the drivers can create an additional overtaking opportunity at this point. This will undoubtedly not be easy for the drivers, but they will certainly try. 

The biggest changes, however, were made mainly with an eye to keeping the race on the calendar. Circuits outside Europe have taken the level of infrastructure to a higher level and so Monza also had to make a move in that regard. 

The Italians have chosen to improve several grandstands and bring them up to a higher standard. This will benefit the fans, but especially a new tunnel at the beginning of the straight will make fans happy. 

Until last year, both people working in the paddock and paddock club guests had to go through the same tunnel towards the circuit. This often caused huge congestion, which the extra made tunnel will probably make a thing of the past. 

A smart move, because in recent years the F1 organisation has largely focused on the fan who bivouacs in the paddock club. After all, that customer is the one who can earn the most. 

"Obviously, we will not charge the same prices as are asked of paddock club guests during American GPs. That is a different country, a different economic culture and so we will never target those prices. What is true is that we want to have everything in order for the paddock club guest and this renovation certainly helps with that," Sticchi said of the major renovations at the Monza circuit.

Despite Monza's multi-million dollar investment, it remains to be seen whether it will be enough to keep the GP on the calendar. The very subdued press conference during our visit to the circuit was clearly a sign that the organisation and the Italian motorsport federation really have no idea where they stand yet.

Not an unknown situation for a sizeable group of European circuits that currently do not know what their future will look like from 2026, see table below:

*Barcelona still has a contract through 2026, but it remains to be seen whether the GP will actually go on in 2026. Indeed, Madrid is also on the calendar from 2026, so there is still some uncertainty as to whether Spain will have two GPs.

European Grands Prix without new agreement

Circuit Contract until
Monza 2025
Imola 2025
Monaco 2025
Spa 2025
Zandvoort 2025
Barcelona 2026*

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