Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has poured cold water on the idea of Italy hosting a grand prix in Rome, branding the scheme “unthinkable”.
Superbike World Championship promoter Maurizio Flammini is spearheading a proposal to bring a Formula One race to the streets of Rome and met with F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone at a Ferrari ski event earlier this month.
Flammini is proposing a race in Rome be added to the calendar by 2011.
However, Italy already has a slot on the F1 calendar in the form of historic and hugely popular Italian Grand Prix at Monza, and Di Montezemolo believes a temporary track in Rome would be damaging for other permanent facilities.
“A new GP in Italy is absolutely unthinkable seeing as we already have so many circuits underused,” Di Montezemolo said.
“Italy is among the countries that has the greatest number of circuits: an extraordinary one in Mugello, a historical one in Monza and then Imola, Misano, Vallelunga.”
He did offer a chink of light however, adding that the idea could be acceptable on a one-off basis.
“If there is a spot, a one-time offering for Rome, but not a permanent circuit, then we can talk about it.”
Spain is currently the only country to current stage two grands prix – at Barcelona and Valencia – and Flammini believes Rome could have a lot to offer to the Formula One fraternity.
“Together we reflected on how much street circuit grands prix represent an interesting opportunity for the growth of F1, as it happened last year with Valencia and Singapore,” he told Gazzetta dello Sport.
“Being a Roman myself, I feel Rome can give a lot to and get a lot from F1.”
He added: “Our hypothesis is to be ready for 2011, but we wouldn’t mind for it to occur earlier than that.
Flammini’s comments came a day after the future of F1 racing in France received a boost after the country’s Senate fast-tracked plans to build a new circuit on the outskirts of Paris.
Proposals for the Yvelines F1 Automobile Valley development were tabled by senators from the ruling UMP party and added to an economic stimulus bill.
The bill allows local authorities in Yvelines to bypass standard planning procedures and get construction under way at the earliest possible date.
Those behind the project now hope France can return to the F1 calendar as early as 2011.
The 2009 French Grand Prix at Magny Cours was cancelled in October after the country’s motorsport federation (FFSA) cited unsustainable losses at last year’s event.