Formula 1: Imola could alternate hosting Italian GP with Monza

By Andrew BensonChief F1 writer
Imola hosted F1 grands prix for 27 years

The Imola circuit could alternate with Monza as a venue for the Italian Grand Prix beyond 2016.

Monza is struggling to raise the money to extend its contract, which expires next season.

Organisers at Imola, which hosted the San Marino GP from 1981 to 2006, met F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone to put its case.

He told Italy's Gazzetta Dello Sport: "Imola is proposing to alternate with Monza. We could do that. I want to ensure Italy stays on the calendar."

While Monza, which first held the race in 1922, is struggling to raise the money to pay the fee Ecclestone is demanding, Imola has sourced the money from private investors.

ayrton senna
Ayrton Senna was killed during the 1994 San Marino GP at Imola

The two circuits have alternated the race once before. Imola stepped in to host the Italian Grand Prix in 1980 on a one-off basis before it returned to Monza.

Imola then became a permanent fixture on the calendar the following year under its new title, even though the track is located more than 60 miles from San Marino between Faenza and Bologna in the Emilio Romagna region.

It became infamous for the 1994 San Marino GP, during which Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger were killed in crashes on consecutive days.

For the following year's race, two chicanes were inserted to slow down the section where the Brazilian three-time champion and Austrian novice lost their lives.

The possibility of a race at Imola will calm the fears of many in F1 who were nervous about the prospect of losing the historic Italian Grand Prix because of the impasse between Ecclestone and Monza.

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