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MONZA, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 03: A general view as the Tifosi celebrate during the podium celebrations with Race winner Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing, Second placed Sergio Perez of Mexico and Oracle Red Bull Racing and Third placed Carlos Sainz of Spain and Ferrari during the F1 Grand Prix of Italy at Autodromo Nazionale Monza on September 03, 2023 in Monza, Italy. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202309030438 // Usage for editorial use only //

Monza $75-million revamp begins as F1 leaves town

MONZA, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 03: A general view as the Tifosi celebrate during the podium celebrations with Race winner Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing, Second placed Sergio Perez of Mexico and Oracle Red Bull Racing and Third placed Carlos Sainz of Spain and Ferrari during the F1 Grand Prix of Italy at Autodromo Nazionale Monza on September 03, 2023 in Monza, Italy. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202309030438 // Usage for editorial use only //

The fabled ‘Temple of Speed‘ – Autodromo Nazionale di Monza – was missing some familiar columns this year, with 10,000 trees in the former royal park brought down by a July storm, but the circuit is planning a facelift as contract talks gear up to keep it on the Formula 1 calendar.

A 30-million euro ($32-million) first phase of works will take place over the winter with the track resurfaced for next year’s 75th edition of the Italian Grand Prix race and access tunnels widened to keep spectators and vehicles apart.

A second phase costing around 40 million euros ($43 million) will see a new Paddock Club hospitality and some of the 30-year-old grandstands replaced with modern ones.

“Monza needs to have a new deal signed by the end of the year,” Italian Automobile Club (ACI) president Angelo Sticchi Damiani told Reuters in his circuit office. “We’ve had meetings in these days to try and get talks going.

“The first thing is the works. Formula 1 naturally expects improvements. Stefano Domenicali knows that the works will be done in the winter of 2023 and spring of 2024. If we don’t do the works the grand prix won’t happen,” Sticchi Damiani added.

The history of Formula 1 at La Pista Magica is beyond question

Monza aerial view Italian Grand Prix

Currently, Monza has a deal with F1 until and including 2025 while Imola, Italy’s other round of the world championship, has an agreement to run until 2026 to recoup the race that was cancelled this year due to flooding.

Both circuits are among the most atmospheric and evocative in the sport, tinged also with tragedy, but a far cry from the lavish and well-appointed modern circuits of the Middle East and North America.

“The history of Monza is beyond question, but we also need to keep up with the times in terms of services, which must be in line with the prices paid by those who come to the racetrack,” Domenicali said last week.

Sticchi Damiani recognised that Monza and Imola were unlikely to get new deals on the same terms as before, with both among those paying least in fees, and state and regional support would be crucial.

“We think this year we won’t draw even,” he said of Imola. “So the idea of increasing our losses to cover the increase in the fee, we cannot contemplate that. It’s clear that government intervention will be needed on the model for Imola.

“It’s not just a question of image, of sporting passion. It also makes a very important contribution every year to the region to justify the government investment.”

The Italian Grand Prix and Britain are the two races on the Formula One calendar that have been held in every year since the world championship started in 1950.

Former Ferrari boss Domenicali was born in Imola and had his first job at the circuit named after the late team founder Enzo and son Dino. (Reporting by Alan Baldwin)