Rome's hopes of hosting a Formula 1 grand prix faded on Thursday after the city's mayor admitted he had been told Italy can't have two races.
Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone sent a letter to Rome mayor Gianni Alemanno saying Italy would have to host just one race per year, either at Monza or Rome. Rome was hoping to join the calendar alongside Monza, the historic circuit that has hosted F1 since the start of the championship in the 1950s. Alemanno made it clear that Rome would end its project if it meant having to choose between the city and Monza.
"In the last letter sent by Bernie Ecclestone, it is obvious that on his part Rome hasn't been rejected whatsoever, but there is the decision to grant Italy just one grand prix: either at Monza or Rome, or in both cities but in alternated seasons," Alemanno was quoted as saying by Repubblica. "This decision is new, and comes after a long period of time where the FOM president reasserted, to me personally as well, his will to stage two grands prix in Italy, a national one in Monza and a special one in Rome.
"The new agreements, which see Ecclestone renewing the contracts with the F1 circuits, have moved the teams to ask for a limit in the number of races to be held at both national and international level. In light of this turning point, it's obvious that more thinking is needed over the Rome GP project. In fact, we have always maintained that if it came down to a choice between Rome and Monza, we would have taken a step back.
"Next week, after the municipality's presentation, we will hold a press conference where we'll make our decisions formal and we'll present the results of a survey, demanded by the citizens committees, over the popularity of the race project."