Canadian GP: Only government can save F1 race

  • Associated Press
  • Wednesday, October 8, 2008 4:49pm
  • SportsSports

MONTREAL — The company that runs the Canadian Grand Prix is no longer interested in doing so and suggested that only the government can save the event, a spokesman for promoter Normand Legault said.

Saying it is no longer economically viable for the private F1 Grand Prix du Canada to run the Formula One race, spokesman Paul Wilson confirmed Wednesday that the event will not be held at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in 2009. Wilson said all other events on the 18-race schedule are run by some form of government body.

Federal officials are looking at bringing back the event that generates an estimated $100 million per year in revenues and economic spinoffs, he added.

He said Michael Fortier, the Conservative Minister for the Montreal region, has spoken to F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone at the urging of Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

“I know that Michael wants to start moving things and wants to have meetings and as I said to him today, if he needs our help to speak to people and build a business plan of what it could be like, we’ll be there for sure, Wilson said.

“It’s for them to call the shots. If they say we think it’s a good idea for the city, for the province, for the country, let’s go for it.”

FIA, the world governing body for motor sports, announced Tuesday that the Montreal race had been dropped from the 2009 calendar. Ecclestone later said it was due to a contractual problem. Wilson said a few proposals were made to keep the race alive at costs affordable to the promoters, but they were turned down.

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