Jul.29 (GMM/Inautonews.com) Monza has reportedly taken a major step towards securing the future of its historic Italian grand prix.

Local media reports say the Senate has belatedly agreed to make EUR 20 million in funding for the F1 race and the modernisation of the Monza circuit exempt from tax.

“It is an important signal that indicates the government’s willingness to ensure the continuation of the Italian grand prix,” former F1 driver Ivan Capelli, now president of the Milan automobile club, is quoted by L’Eco di Bergamo newspaper.

And Andrea Dell’Orto, boss of the race promoter Sias, said he will now meet with local mayors in Milan and Monza and thereafter “continue negotiations for the renewal of the contract with Bernie Ecclestone”.

“We believed, and now finally we can save the Italian grand prix at Monza,” said Lombardy’s regional sport minister Antonio Rossi.

“Formula one does not exist without this race that is part of racing history. To go without it would be madness, doing irreparable harm to our country and to F1,” he added.

And Lombardy president Roberto Maroni was quoted by La Gazzetta dello Sport: “With this tax free investment, we can now close the deal with Ecclestone by early September.”

Ecclestone, however, admitted he is frustrated with promoters like Monza, who believe they have a “right” to always be on an ever-expanding calendar.

“We’ve got all these people who have had formula one for a long time who think it’s their right, and they can go to sleep and not do all the things that others are prepared to do,” he told Spain’s Movistar broadcaster.

“What’s sad is that I made a deal two years ago, and they forgot it. That’s what is sad,” Ecclestone insisted.