After Domenicali’s ‘constructive pressure’ Monza circuit’s €21 million modernisation has finally commenced

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Photo Credits Scuderia Ferrari

F1’s CEO Stefano Domenicali, had made it very clear last year that the track authorities of the Monza circuit would need to upgrade and modernise the circuit to have a chance of securing its long-term future on the F1 calendar. This past Monday saw the much-needed upgrades finally commence at a cost of around €21 million.

The original timeslot had seen the modernisation of the Monza Circuit scheduled for September 2023. When this did not come to pass, the sport’s CEO Stefano Domenicali was very vocal that they would need to be a priority.

Speaking to Rai at the time, Domenicali had said: “The work at Monza was supposed to start after the Grand Prix and still hasn’t started in December. It should now start in the near future. My pressure is constructive, but internal bureaucracies should not be able to stop certain projects. We have to move with the times…It’s all about understanding our country’s willingness to invest in F1 as a sporting, promotional and business platform, because Formula 1 can no longer be privately managed.”

Monza (and Imola) do have contracts which see them having F1 at their venues through 2025. Now, work is finally underway to modernise the Autodromo Nazionale Monza as the organisers seek to do all they can to ensure that they remain on the F1 calendar for many more years to come.

This past Monday morning, a press conference was held at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza with the Minister of Infrastructure and Transport, Matteo Salvini, in attendance. This was a clear sign of the importance that Italy is placing on F1 and was the signal to the start of an expected 140 days of work.

During this time, there will be: resurfacing of the asphalt on the circuit; upgrades to grandstand facilities; upgrades to circuit facilities as well as the expansion of the three current underpasses and a construction of a brand new fourth one.

In a country sadly hit by severe weather in recent years, there will also be a considerable improvement to the drainage. Most intriguing of all, the pavement will be entirely demolished and removed to then be reconstructed through advanced materials and techniques. All of this will hopefully see the fan experience considerably improved.

Encouragingly, President of the Automobile Club d’Italia Angelo Sticchi Damiani made clear that the experience of fans is key.

“Our main goal is to bring the Autodromo back up to speed. We can no longer afford to have problems with the flow of fans, and we must offer greater comfort to those who come to the circuit. We have set ourselves three goals to best meet the requests made to us, and of these the first is the underpasses.” explained Damiani.

“The second goal is related to the grandstands. We still have several temporary structures, so we will build more solid structures that will provide all the amenities in line with what a spectator expects today. Each grandstand will be an island with all the necessary services inside, so that the public will not have to move around. Finally, a permanent type of roofing will be built over the pit building (currently a tensile structure). The support pillars will be reinforced because the structure will grow in height. By the end of June everything must be ready to host all the events scheduled from early July, up to the most important one which is the Italian GP.”

Even though it is a €21 million investment, Angelo Sticchi Damiani, also explained on Monday how research has shown that the economic value generated by the Italian Grand Prix stands at 473 million euros. From that, it is claimed, that 143 million euros has a direct impact on the local community.

Meanwhile, Geronimo La Russa, the head of Aci Milano, was keen to remind people of the part the Temple of Speed plays in motorsport and presented its plans for the future: “The secret of the Autodromo Nazionale Monza, over its 102 years of existence, has been its ability to keep pace with the times. Now our goal must be to work on the attractiveness of the ‘Autodromo system’ by increasing the offerings for enthusiasts and tourists, primarily by establishing a Motorsport museum. We aim to enhance the territory and its landmarks, especially the Park and the Royal Villa, and, in synergy with Milan, create a real public transportation system with the metropolis, not just during the Grand Prix.”

The presentation looked to be a success as Domenicali, who was present via video link, called the intended grandstand upgrades ‘an important goal’ for F1. Although his remarks also reiterated how dissatisfied he was with things in previous years:

“We need to be able to receive our guests in a proper structure and no longer under a tent, as it was until last year,” Domenicali stated. “In addition to this, there are obviously other interventions needed for the future. Monza has a great tradition but we must also look ahead and propose the racetrack at the level of the other world championship tracks.

“I want to thank the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, the President of Lombardy, the President of the Automobile Club of Italy and the Mayor of Monza for the effort that led to this announcement and to making the investments possible. I look forward to seeing these works completed in time for the Grand Prix Italy in September and I hope that the entire work program will continue in the coming years”. Domenicali concluded.

Time will tell as to whether this will be enough to keep Monza and F1 in partnership beyond 2025 but the first target is to make sure that all work is completed on time. Finally, after a 4 month delay, things seem to moving in the right direction and that can only be a positive for everyone involved.