Flammini pushing ahead with Rome GP for 2013
"I expect it to be in 2013." he said
Despite the opposition of Monza, Ferrari and an apparent majority of local residents, promoter Maurizio Flammini has vowed to push ahead with his plans for a Rome street race.
"The first race?" he asked rhetorically during an interview with the Il Riformista newspaper. "I expect it to be in 2013."
However, Monza and Ferrari want F1 to limit itself to one annual race per country, and a survey published this week shows 80-90 per cent opposition to the Rome event from residents who live near the proposed layout in the capital’s EUR district.
But Flammini said the final plans will be reviewed by authorities by the end of December. "According to the standard procedure this will take at least 60 days," he said.
"If the project would have been approved by the end of the year, we would have been ready for 2012," he said.
"In Italy everything is ready (for 2013)," continued Flammini, "and the formula one circus is ready to welcome us. A few days ago I spoke with Bernie Ecclestone and he asked me to go ahead. When we are ready, we will close the final agreement."
It had been reported earlier in 2010 that a final agreement had already been signed.
"We signed a preliminary agreement for at least two years," Flammini clarified. "(F1 chief executive) Ecclestone is helping us but he is concerned about the delay.
"The competition is fierce, there are at least 30 other circuits that are pushing (to be in F1). If we don’t hurry we may lose this opportunity," he insisted.
Flammini dismissed some of the criticisms of the Rome project, including fears of increased pollution in the city.
"You must be joking," he hit back. "We should be thanked that instead of thousands of cars, for a few days there will be only 24 on a 5 kilometre circuit.
"Traffic? A study has shown the increase to be 25 per cent, but we are talking about August, when the presence of cars is well under 50 per cent of the annual average."