Italy hopes second race at Imola becomes 'stable' on F1 calendar

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Italy's motorsport president hopes Imola can become a "stable" member of the Formula 1 calendar.

The historic circuit welcomed F1 for the first time since 2006 last year, with the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix one of five new races added to the revised schedule amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Then, on Tuesday, it was confirmed Imola would host the second round of the 2021 season on April 18, replacing the Chinese GP which is pushing for a new date later in the year.

Looking beyond this year, however, ACI president Angelo Sticchi Damiani is still hoping the race can secure a permanent place on the calendar alongside Monza.

“It’s nice that there are two GPs in Italy this year,” he was quoted by the Italian media.

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“It’s nice that Imola is still hosting one. The ACI and I are committed and have done everything possible to make this situation happen.

“As a passionate Italian, I can only be proud of the result we have achieved, the result of a great effort. I hope it can be repeated in the future, making a second Grand Prix in Italy stable.”

The main uncertainty now over the race is whether fans will be allowed in the grandstands, this after plans for a limited attendance in 2020 had to be scrapped just days before the event.

“We hope to be in a position to open the circuit to the public, albeit in the capacity and within the limits that can guarantee maximum safety,” said Stefano Bonaccini, president of the Emilia Romagna region.

Bonaccini also praised the cooperation with new F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali, who is, of course, a former team boss at Ferrari.

“I talked to him for a long time. He gave us his support but he will treat us like everyone else, without favouritism," he asserted.

After Imola, there remains an empty place on the calendar on May 2, where the Vietnam GP was previously scheduled.

Speculation puts the Portuguese GP, another 2020 stand-in, in pole to claim that date but that is still to be confirmed.