Rome puts brake on Formula One plan for sake of city's 2020 Olympic Games bid
LAURA WALDEN / Sports Features Communications
TAMPA/ROME, Jan 18: Rome Mayor Gianni Alemanno has scrapped proposals to stage a Formula One grand prix race in the city streets of the Italian capital so as to focus efforts on the city's bid to host the 2020 summer Olympic Games.
The prospects for a street race in the south-western EUR district of Rome had been diminishing ever since doubts were expressed by both Formula One owner Bernie Ecclestone and by Luca di Montezemolo, the president of Ferrari.
Both believed that F1 should be opening up new markets rather than staging two races in traditional homes of the sport and the Italian Grand Prix at Monza is one of the long-established races in the motor-racing calendar.
Alemanno said: "The interests of a city should always be compatible with that of the national ones therefore we are taking a step back.” He urgent the Italian Government of embattled Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to offer a stronger commitment to the 2020 bid for the summer Olympics which he considers promising as well as ambitious.
Rome has announced officially that, in partnership with the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI) it will join the 2020 bid race for which no other formal competitors have yet been named. South Africa is considering a bid with the likely choice being Durban, host to July's IOC Session which will include the vote for the 2018 winter Games.
The EUR district had been built originally as venue for a world exhibition in 1942, comparable with those already held in London and Paris. The second world war meant it never took place. However the intention was marked in the current name, Esposizione Universale Roma, which replaced the original E42 title.
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