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Ecclestone: Heineken deal could secure Monza's F1 future

Mark Sutton/Sutton Images

Bernie Ecclestone says F1's major sponsorship deal with Heineken is "probably going to help" Monza's chances of keeping the Italian Grand Prix beyond 2016.

On Thursday in Montreal Heineken unveiled its new partnership, which will officially begin with the Italian Grand Prix in September. The beer brand has also secured naming rights for this year's race, which some fear might be the last to take place at the iconic circuit as it is yet to agree financial terms and secure a contract extension beyond 2016.

Monza has been a staple of the F1 calendar since the first world championship season in 1950, with 1980 the only year it did not appear as Imola hosted the Italian Grand Prix.

Asked if the Heineken announcement was a boost for Italy's chances of staying on the calendar, the F1 chief said: "It is probably going to help."

Ecclestone was then asked why it was taking so long to sort an extension, and replied: "It's Italian, because you know it's in Italy, and it is very, very, very, very political ... It is getting all the people that are involved to agree on something. All of them want to save the race."

It was then pointed out that the desire to save Monza did not mean it definitely would be saved, to which he replied: "No, definitely."

Ecclestone has previously said F1 would survive if its oldest circuit and race dropped off the calendar, insisting Monza had to pay the same as other European circuits. In April Monza mayor Roberto Scanagatti said he was confident the circuit would continue to host the race.

Asked if talks will take place this year at Monza, Ecclestone replied: "It is up to them. They have a contract. They have got a pen, I believe, now."