Rome grand prix bid hits the wall

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The Independent Online

Rome yesterday abandoned plans to host a Formula One grand prix.

The Italian capital had hoped to stage a race from 2013, with the circuit to run through the EUR (Esposizione Universale Roma) district in the southern area of the city.

However, the plan faced fierce opposition from residents, and then last month the Ferrari team principal, Stefano Domenicali, poured cold water on the event.

Then last week the Formula One supremo, Bernie Ecclestone, wrote to the mayor, Gianni Alemanno, stating that given an expanding global calendar, Italy could not host two grands prix per year.

With the Italian Grand Prix at Monza contracted to 2016, Alemanno has now thrown in the towel, and instead will pursue the possibility of Rome hosting the 2020 Olympics.

"We formally and definitely give up on the hypothesis of a Formula One grand prix in Rome," Alemanno said.

"This move represents a step backwards because we have always said we would have done so, should the FIA have posed an alternative between Rome and Monza. However, we have an Olympic dream that is still going on. So let's make clear to Italy and to the world we want to stage the games in Rome."