Motor Racing: Italian Grand Prix reinstated: Revised scheme temporarily solves safety problem at Monza

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The Independent Online
A COMPROMISE solution to the problem of safety at Monza's Lesmo corner yesterday enabled the Italian Grand Prix to be reinstated in the Formula One world championship calendar.

Driver demands for better run-off areas at the bend drew race organisers into conflict with environmentalists, who objected strongly to the felling of hundreds of old trees to create the necessary open space. An alternative approach has satisfied drivers, whose concerns about safety were deepened by the deaths of Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger early this season.

The sport's international governing body, the FIA, cancelled the race after failing to obtain guarantees that safety measures would be in place before the race, scheduled for 11 September. That decision came as a shock in Italy, and prime minister Silvio Berlusconi's government was drawn into the dispute.

Paolo Arrigoni, the president of the Lombardy region where the track is situated, said: 'Berlusconi's reputation is riding on his ability to defend the grand prix.'

On Saturday, Gianni Letta, an Italian cabinet under-secretary, went to Cannes to discuss the issue with the FIA's president, Max Mosley.

The new solution, accepted by the drivers' representative Gerhard Berger, changes the shape of the curve and reduces its speed. That 'is acceptable to the FIA on the basis that it is for 1994 only and as a result the 1994 Italian Grand Prix has been reinstated,' the FIA said.

Benetton consolidate, page 33