Coronavirus: Imola chief offers circuit for free to help F1 fulfil 2020 season

Uberto Selvatico Estense says Imola would be suitable to stage a Formula One race this year if government restrictions allow it.

Felipe Massa's Ferrari at the 2006 San Marino Grand Prix   -  Clive Mason/Getty Images

Imola president Uberto Selvatico Estense is prepared to offer the circuit for free to help Formula One fulfil the 2020 season.

The San Marino racetrack was put forward as an alternative when the Chinese Grand Prix was postponed in February due to the outbreak of coronavirus.

A further six races have been postponed and the Australian and Monaco Grands Prix cancelled since then as the pandemic has caused havoc with the calendar.

Italy has been one of the hardest-hit countries in Europe, with close to 25,000 deaths, but prime minister Giuseppe Conte has this week promised to announce a plan to bring the country gradually out of a lockdown that has been in place for six weeks.

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Provided that government regulations allow it, Selvatico Estense would be happy to put forward Imola as an alternative venue later this year.

"This situation is an opportunity for us to be a candidate for a grand prix this season," he told Autosport.

"They need some races in order to maintain the contract with the FIA and have a world championship. So why not think about Imola?

"Obviously it depends also on the government rules, if they will allow us to run such a race.

"Of course, we'll offer the track for free, and then talk about costs on our side if possible.

"We can ask the region for some help. We're not in the situation where we can pay a promoter's fee.

"It's much easier without spectators, we don't have to take care of the grandstands, we don't have to take care of things like VIP hospitality and so on.

"For sure it will be cheaper than a complete organisation. People are already thinking about running football games behind closed doors."

Selvatico Estense, who suggested the prospect of back-to-back races in Imola and Monza, added: "I think people would like to go back to Imola. It's a dream for us, but we're still dreaming!"

The last San Marino Grand Prix in Imola was held in 2006 and was won for a record seventh time by Michael Schumacher.

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