The boss of Italian motorsport’s governing body wants Monza’s centenary preparations to include renovation work that allows the old oval circuit to host racing again.
According to reports in Italy, Automobile Club d’Italia president Angelo Sticchi Damiani has revived calls for national government funding to help renovate the circuit in time for its 100-year anniversary in 2022.
Plans for Italian Grand Prix venue Monza’s centenary have previously included new grandstands and to make the circuit faster by removing of one of the current Formula 1 layout’s chicanes and reprofiling the second Lesmo.
At an online event organised by Milan’s RCS Academy, Sticchi Damiani called for “extraordinary resources” to be granted, “not only for a restyling and a polish, but to modernise the track and ensure it can face another 20 years”. In addition to the necessary renovations for Monza to keep its place on the F1 calendar beyond 2024, when its current deal ends, the ACI boss has expressed his desire to renovate the banked circuit so it can host non-F1 races again in the future.
He reportedly said he is “convinced that it would be very nice to recover the high-speed track” so that races can be organised rather than leaving the circuit to be “industrial archeology”.
The 30-degree Monza banking is a popular historical site within the grounds of the national park in which the circuit resides, but Sticchi Damiani said it is a “blow to the heart” to see it in its current state.
Monza’s banked layout, which effectively added an oval to the contemporary version of the F1 track to make a 6.2-mile course with two steeply-banked corners, was used for four grands prix but has not been utilised by F1 since 1961, when Wolfgang von Trips lost his life in a crash that also killed several spectators.
The speeds were considered too dangerous, even though that crash did not happen on a banked section.
The oval was also the scene of The Race Of Two Worlds, an exhibition event that ran in 1957 and 1958 and pitted teams from America’s Indycar racing scene against F1 operations.
Monza’s banking continued to be used in sportscar racing until 1969, but since then the main layout has been used exclusively for circuit racing.
There was a threat in the 1990s to demolish the banking and use it as a forestation site, but this was avoided and parts were even repaved.
Various promotional activity has taken place on the banking while it also retains a minor competitive presence in the form of the Monza Rally, which has incorporated the lower part of the banking, run anti-clockwise after a left-hand hairpin exiting the Parabolica.
This event is traditionally a non-championship ‘show’ rally that attracts star guests from elsewhere in motorsport, with its winners including Valentino Rossi.
But for 2020 a substantially expanded version of the Monza Rally becomes the World Rally Championship season finale as part of the series’ enforced calendar reorganisation, meaning the banking will play a part in the WRC title decider.
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