Italian GP set for axe

  • Last Updated: July 1 2014, 17:22 BST

Bernie Ecclestone is ready to drop the historic Italian Grand Prix from the Formula One calendar after slating the current deal as "a commercial disaster".

Monza: One of F1's most famous venues
Monza: One of F1's most famous venues

The race has been a part of the sport since the birth of the world championship in 1950, with Monza a mecca for motor sport fans.

Only once has the fabled venue failed to stage the race, that in 1980 when it was switched to Imola, but it may now be axed altogether once the present agreement expires in 2016.

"It's not good," said F1 supremo Ecclestone when asked by Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport as to the future of the race.

"I don't think we'll do another contract as the old one has been disastrous for us from a commercial point of view, so it's bye-bye after 2016."

Ferrari's circuit at Mugello has been mooted as a likely replacement, although Ecclestone claims he has not yet received any proposal.

One key factor behind the race's potential departure is an alarming drop in F1's television audience in Italy, with Ferrari's lack of form far from helping.

Ecclestone added: "TV ratings are lower in Italy than elsewhere.

"TV channels have split with digital broadcasting, and there's also Twitter, Facebook and other communication means, so young people are more distracted.

"How to improve Italian ratings? If Ferrari started to end up first and second in qualifying and races... TV ratings would improve everywhere. Ferrari is a worldwide passion."