F1: Monza “saved a lot of money” in new deal claims ACI president

ACI president Angelo Sticchi Damiani has heaped praise on F1’s owners after agreeing a new deal which keeps the Italian Grand Prix at Monza.

When it was recently announced that a new deal had been agreed in principle, it meant that the Italian Grand Prix at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza appeared safe, the event one of five on this year’s calendar in the final year of its current contract.

As negotiations over the future of the British Grand Prix continue, as do talks concerning the Spanish, German and Mexican rounds, Damiani has revealed that the ACI was able to negotiate a good deal with F1 as it sought to keep one of the most iconic venues on the calendar, largely thanks to the cooperation of Liberty Media.

“We started with a very demanding contract, he told Gazzetta dello Sport, “signed in 2016 when we were in a position of weakness, with Bernie Ecclestone expecting to leave F1 and wanting to increase the value of his business.

“The sport’s new owners then tried to defend a deal born in another time and place but it was no longer sustainable, even for other European organisers,” he continued.

“It was difficult,” he admits, “they were determined and they mentioned a long list of venues waiting to join F1, talks almost broke down two or three times.

“The financial agreement is confidential but compared to their initial demands, we saved a lot of money.

“They wanted more than 24 million euros (£20.4m),” he revealed, but we closed the deal for a lower figure for five years. It’s a very good contract and I thank them because they realized the importance of Monza.”

The Mexican and Spanish events remain in doubt, both hit hard by the withdrawal of government funding, while the Dutch Grand Prix is looking set to replace Barcelona on the schedule.

Meanwhile, having said from the outset that it too required a significant reduction in its hosting fee, Silverstone will have taken note of Damiani’s comments.