Monza given green light
THE Italian Government gave the go-ahead yesterday to the running of the Formula One Grand Prix in Monza next month, provided environmental concerns are taken into account.
The Government endorsed a plan by the regional Lombardy Government that called for improved safety measures but opened the way for the destruction of more than 500 trees to widen a safety zone bordering the track's Grand Curve.
But earlier this week, the Cabinet minister for environmental matters stepped in following protests from various groups and promised to spare the trees.
It was not immediately clear whether Friday's cabinet decision accepted the minister's position.
Auto racing officials have been demanding better safety measures following the deaths of Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger during this year's San Marino Grand Prix at Imola, another Italian track.
The Monza race is scheduled for September 11.
Environment and culture ministers last week rejected an original and hotly disputed plan to make the track safer by cutting down 524 centuries-old trees at Royal Park, once the estate of Italian King Umberto I.
This week some 300 parliamentarians urged Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to back a new, less-radical plan under which only about 100 trees will be cut down, some of which will be replanted in the park.
The Italian Grand Prix is the highlight of the Formula One season for the millions of motor sports enthusiasts in Italy.