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Rome to Lose Out on Grand Prix and McLaren to Miss First Testing Session of the Season

Formula 1 will not be coming to the streets of the Italian capital and McLaren plays down not being ready

Posted Jan 24, 2011 by Weekend Round-Up

Lewis Hamilton driving Mclaren

We may not have officially started the F1 season but there certainly isn’t a shortage of news to report. The March season start is fast approaching and to many Formula 1 fans (myself included) the action can’t fire up soon enough.

Engineers are busy getting to grips with the 2011 season technical changes, putting the final touches to their team’s latest models and wondering if their work will be enough to outdo the competition.

Italian fans of the motorsport though, could well be disappointed at the decision not to bring a second stage of the season to Italy – and Rome residents in particular have even more reason for disappointment as the Mayor announced the capital wouldn’t even get the chance to share the hosting of the Italian Grand Prix with the historical race circuit at Monza.

The Mayor of Rome, Gianni Alemanno, announced at a news conference on Friday that the capital had given up its hope of hosting the Italian stage of the Formula 1 season following much resistance from Monza officials.

Alemanno said “Today we're definitively and formally renouncing the plan for Formula 1 in Rome.” It was hoped that Rome would either become a second slot in the F1 calendar or share the hosting of the Italian Grand Prix with the legendary race circuit at Monza. Pressure from officials in Monza as well as Monza’s status and popularity among fans made the decision to alternate hosting of the event, a non-runner.

The man in charge of the bid to bring F1 to the streets of Rome, Maurizio Flammini, says he understands F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone’s judgement that there was no room for two races in the same country, given that there are 20 dates already on the calendar.

McLaren meanwhile has faced criticism that it will experience teething problems with the release of its new car, the MP4-26, because the model won’t be ready until 4th February, 1 day after the first official testing session of the season concludes.

The fact that it won’t be ready until 4th February, means that McLaren will only have 3 chances to test out the new car before the first race of the season in Bahrain in March.

McLaren’s engineer director says “We are reasonably confident we can get all the reliability we need.” Not exactly reassuring words from Paddy Lowe, the team’s top dog for tech. But Team McLaren, relaxed as ever are happy that their in-house testing processes will be sufficient to deliver a reliable performance in Bahrain.

Critics have pointed at Red Bull’s failure to test their RB6 in the first winter testing session of 2010 before suffering numerous teething problems in the early-season races including a spark plug problem at Bahrain and a wheel problem in Australia.

In other news, according to Formula One Management (FOM) Formula 1's global television audience increased to 527 million viewers in 2010. The increase is thought to be a result of the inclusion of new countries, such as India, in the 2011 season schedule which inevitably increases awareness and interest in the sport.

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