A sign of the times…

Not long ago, there was talk of a Formula 1 race on the streets of Italy’s capital city Rome. In part this was due to the fight then going on between the Formula One group and the authorities at Monza, but there is little doubt that there was also some considerable interest in the idea in the city, which was looking for ways to boost its tourism. The city recorded 15.3 million tourist arrivals (people staying overnight) in 2015, which is up considerably on 2014 when there were 13.5 million, which is nonetheless more than twice as many visitors as in 2000. However, some of Italy’s other cities, notably Venice, Florence and Milan have been doing better and Rome wants to remain competitive. There also seems to have been a slowdown last year, in the wake of the attacks on visitors in Paris in the autumn of 2015.

The original idea was in around 2010 when the then mayor Gianni Alemanno planned for a street track in the Esposizione Universale Roma district. Last year a new mayor Virginia Raggi was elected, a member of the Five Star Movement, and she has been open to similar ideas but for a Formula E race.

Last week the city government unanimously approved the plan for an all-electric race on the streets in 2018…