Despite Bernie Ecclestone claiming he had 'no idea' where the story about the Canadian Grand Prix being dropped from the 2004 calendar came from, a fax was indeed received by Normand Legault from Formula One Management (FOM). Ecclestone met with...
Despite Bernie Ecclestone claiming he had 'no idea' where the story about the Canadian Grand Prix being dropped from the 2004 calendar came from, a fax was indeed received by Normand Legault from Formula One Management (FOM). Ecclestone met with Legault at Hockenheim on the German GP weekend and the FOM boss said Canada would be dropped because of the tobacco laws due to come into force in October.
Reportedly Legault asked Ecclestone to postpone an announcement while he discussed the situation with his partners. However, not long after, organizers of the Belgium GP declared their race would be held on June 6th instead of Canada. Ecclestone then sent the fax to Legault informing him Canada would not be on the 2004 schedule.
The fax consisted of the following:
"2004 FIA Formula One World Championship Canadian Grand Prix
Dear Mr Legault
Mr Ecclestone has asked me to write to you following your meeting with him at the Hockenheim Grand Prix last weekend.
As agreed at that meeting, we write to advise you that the Canadian Grand Prix will not be included on the 2004 FIA Formula One World Championship calendar, pending the outcome of various issues. In the event that the Canadian Grand Prix is not included in the calendar for next year, the provisions of Clause 26.2 of the Promoters Agreement will apply.
Formula One Management Limited."
Clause 26 relates to statutes where FOM can end a contract if laws are passed that limit tobacco advertising.
It seems Legault is now hoping to convince team bosses and car manufacturers to appeal to Ecclestone to reinstate the Canadian GP. He intends to travel to Budapest next weekend for the Hungarian GP to meet with bosses and key figures in the manufacturer groups to present them with some facts about the Canadian GP.
The manufacturers represent the big budgets in F1 and Legault's plan is to focus on them and team bosses with figures that show the Montreal race is one of the top three for public attendance, one of the top four television audiences for the last ten years and had the best television audience overall in 2002.
While Legault puts his efforts into convincing those in the sport, Montreal tourism and businesses groups hope to persuade the government to postpone the tobacco advertising laws until the Europe-wide ban comes into effect in August 2005.