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Ecclestone confirms Rome Grand Prix deal

ESPNF1 Staff
December 22, 2009 « Button to be honoured by Queen | »
Bernie Ecclestone has agreed to hold a race on the streets of Rome © Getty Images

Bernie Ecclestone has confirmed he has signed a seven-year deal for a street race in Rome which is likely to start in 2012.

The contract has an option for a further five years and Ecclestone boasted about the track layout in The Times, explaining it will take cars close to the Vatican. "Every time there is an overtaking manoeuvre, we're going to put the black smoke up."

An earlier report said the traditional Italian Grand Prix at Monza would remain on the calendar alongside the new street circuit, and that was confirmed by Gianni Alemanno, the mayor of Rome. "It's not true that it is an alternative to Monza. Monza is a grand prix on the circuit, and the grand prix of Rome is integrative to that of Monza, it's not a replacement.

"We have calculated that there will be an income of €1 billion (£900 million) a year with this grand prix and Rome needs to renew its tourist appeal. Not only the past, archaeology and monuments, but also the future, something which is aimed at families and youngsters."

Up until 2006 Italy hosted two rounds of the F1 season, with the San Marino Grand Prix at Imola taking place on Italian soil. Spain currently has two races on the calendar, one at the Circuit de Catalunya outside Barcelona and one on the streets of Valencia.