Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has warned Italian Grand Prix organisers there can be no cut-price deal to keep Monza on the calendar after 2016.
“They’ve got a contract, all they’ve got to do is find a pen,” he told Reuters at the Belgian Grand Prix on Saturday. “It’s easy. We had a deal with them two years ago, if they just continue with that it’s all OK.
“We are happy to be at Monza, obviously,” continued the 84-year-old Briton. “But we are not doing cut-price things.”
Asked whether he felt the organisers would sign up to the deal on the table, Ecclestone replied: “No idea. Haven’t got a clue.”
The Briton will have further talks with officials at the circuit next month, during the Italian Grand Prix weekend, but the lack of progress to extending Ferrari’s home race has caused concern within the sport and throughout Italy.
“I don’t think we’ll do another contract, the old one was a disaster for us from the commercial point of view. After 2016, bye bye,” Ecclestone had said last year, ratcheting up the pressure.
“It’s useless to keep on talking. In order to have a grand prix, you need money. If the money is there, the race takes place,” he added.
Monza, the fastest track in F1, has been on the calendar since the championship started in 1950 and is loved by Italians as the ‘Pista Magica’.
However while new circuits such as Bahrain, Russia and Abu Dhabi contribute tens of millions of dollars to Ecclestone’s coffers in race hosting fees, Europe’s historic circuits have struggled financially.
Ecclestone has threatened races in the past as part of the bargaining procedure, notably with Silverstone before renovations were carried out and a long-term deal agreed for the British Grand Prix, but he has also followed through elsewhere.
France has been absent from the calendar since 2008 while Germany, home of champions Mercedes, was dropped this year due to financial reasons.