Canadian GP talks ongoing

Canadian GP talks ongoing

The future of the Canadian Grand Prix is still undecided but discussions are ongoing to reinstate the event. The race was dropped from the 2004 calendar due to anti-tobacco laws but a deal to compensate for the ban on tobacco advertising is in ...

The future of the Canadian Grand Prix is still undecided but discussions are ongoing to reinstate the event. The race was dropped from the 2004 calendar due to anti-tobacco laws but a deal to compensate for the ban on tobacco advertising is in negotiations. Bernie Ecclestone has reportedly told the race organizers that a sum of $30 million would be required for the teams to recuperate losses incurred if they race without tobacco sponsorship.

Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve.
Photo by Brousseau Photo.
Race promoter Normand Legault met with Ecclestone at Indianapolis and, as reinstating the Canadian GP has the support of some teams and sponsors, and Ecclestone himself, it seems a deal in the region of $20-25 million could be agreed on. "(Ecclestone) wants to keep the race in Montreal," said Legault. "But at the same time, there are problems that need to be resolved before Montreal can put on a race in 2004.''

The Provincial government has pledged $5 million to the cause and the Federal government may be persuaded to do likewise. The savings in transport costs if the race was back-to-back with Indianapolis, now in June next year, would be in the region of $3 million. Canadian television would also contribute and with other deals in the pipeline, the amount Legault needs to find could come down to between $7 million and $12 million.

The French Grand Prix is only provisional on the 2004 calendar and it's been suggested Canada could replace it. San Marino is another venue that is reportedly under careful scrutiny and a third possibility is that the 17 race 2004 schedule be extended to 18 GPs to include Canada.

This week two businessmen attempted to get Montreal exempted from the tobacco ban, arguing the constitutionality of the anti-tobacco laws and economic losses if the GP was dropped. However, the judge described the case as a "cry of despair" and said it was beyond the jurisdiction of the legal system.

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Series Formula 1
Drivers Bernie Ecclestone