F1: Monza renews GP contract until 2019

'Hope it stays for 100 yrs' says Ecclestone

(ANSA) - Monza, September 2 - Monza's contract to hold the Italian Formula One Grand Prize has been renewed until 2019, FI supremo Bernie Ecclestone and Italian officials announced Friday. The contract will be signed in London later today. Ecclestone said he hoped that the Italian GP, which takes place this weekend, would be run at Monza "for the next 100 years" before a hand-shake with Italian Automobile Club head Angelo Sticchi Damiani and Lombardy Governor Roberto Maroni which sealed the renewal of the track's contract. "I'll go to London to be on the safe side," joked Maroni. Ruling body FIA head Jean Todt said "it's the conclusion that was due". Sticchi Damiani said earlier this week that "we've had to work hard" and thanked Premier Matteo Renzi for engineering a "turning point" by meeting Ecclestone last year.
    He also thanked the Lombardy regional government for its support.
    "The required investment is 17 million dollars more than the current contract. We couldn't have done it on our own," he said, adding that "Ecclestone also showed patience, a sign that Monza is important for him too".
    The talks to renew the existing contract, which was due to run out next year, have been long and hard.
    The head of Italy's Olympic Committee (CONI) Giovanni Malago' said recently that the Monza race was "sacred" and that he was optimistic that it would stay in the city despite the difficulties involved.
    The sporting event has been held there since 1922.
    The Italian Grand Prix (Gran Premio d'Italia) is one of the longest-running events on the Formula One calendar.
    The Italian Grand Prix was also one of the inaugural Formula One championship races in 1950, and has been held every year since then.
    The only other championship race for which this is true is the British Grand Prix, and the only other inaugural F1 races that are still on the calendar are the Monaco Grand Prix and the Belgian Grand Prix.
   

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