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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Trees Saved, Grand Prix Will Run

PARIS -- The Italian Grand Prix has been saved, along with a forest of centuries-old trees in the Monza public park.


Talks between officials of Formula One's ruling body and the Italian government resulted in the reinstatement of the Sept. 11 Grand Prix at the Monza circuit Monday, three days after it was canceled.


The Federation International de L'Automobile (FIA) agreed to new safety measures at the second Lesmo Corner, shaded by the trees which led to the cancelation.


Rather than the trees being cut down, the grandstand at the second corner will be removed and replaced with a gravel run-off area and new crash barriers, FIA spokesman Martin Whitaker said.


The angle of the corner will be made more acute, cutting speeds from approximately 260 kilometers per hour (161 mph) to 170 kph (105 mph), Whitaker said.


Monza organizers had suggested putting chicanes between the two Lesmo Corners to slow the section down, but that was ruled out by FIA. No change will be made to the first corner.


FIA had scrapped the race last Friday after local officials refused to make circuit changes that would have required cutting down 123 trees.


The demand to cut the trees in the Monza public park had outraged environmentalists, and the city's superintendent for environmental and architectural affairs, Lucia Gremmo, vetoed the felling of the trees.


Under Monday's agreement, no trees will be cut down.


"It was either the trees that went or the grandstand," Whitaker said.


Following calls to slow down sections of the Monza circuit, FIA wanted to widen the track between the two Lesmo corners by cutting the trees down.


"This solution, which changes the shape of the second Lesmo and reduces its speed, is acceptable to the FIA on the basis that it is for 1994 only," FIA said in a statement.


FIA President Max Mosley agreed to the new changes -- proposed by Monza organizers, FIA experts and drivers' representative Gerhard Berger -- following talks with Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi and his secretary of state Gianni Letta.


RAI state TV reported the "great satisfaction" of Cabinet secretary Gianni Letta, who had met with Mosley on Saturday on behalf of Berlusconi to press the government's campaign that the race be run.


FIA stressed the changes are short-term only and it will be actively seeking a long-term solution for the circuit for 1995 and beyond.


Safety concerns in Formula One have been heightened since the deaths of Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger at the May 1 San Marino Grand Prix.