Gillett and Molson in Canadian GP talks

Gillett and Molson in Canadian GP talks

Following reports that Normand Legault, promoter of the Canadian Grand Prix, would consider selling the franchise for the race, businessman George Gillett has confirmed he is interested in becoming an investor. Legault needs to find somewhere in...

Following reports that Normand Legault, promoter of the Canadian Grand Prix, would consider selling the franchise for the race, businessman George Gillett has confirmed he is interested in becoming an investor. Legault needs to find somewhere in the region of $10 to $20 million to compensate F1 teams that would have to race in Montreal without tobacco sponsor logos, and selling the race or taking on shareholders is one option.

Start/finish line, with the traditional 'Salut Gilles'.
Photo by Eric Gilbert.
Gillett, owner of the Montreal Canadiens hockey team, is part of a group of potential investors that also includes Molson Breweries, which Gillett bought the majority stake in the hockey team from in 2001. He admits there are talks but nothing has been decided.

"I can't tell you that significant progress has been made," Gillett said on Saturday, after Montreal's La Presse newspaper broke the story earlier in the day. "There's nothing to report. It's still in the process. It was good reporting that found the story, but when it gets reported early, because you've got the government involved, it often puts these discussions in jeopardy."

The fear is that Gillett and Molson's involvement may cause Bernie Ecclestone to up the asking price to keep Canada on the 2004 calendar. Molson president Dan O'Neill said the company was willing to contribute to the cause but a solution had yet to be found. Another problem may be that Labatt Breweries is currently a major sponsor of the GP.

Gillett said the group of potential investors wants the race at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve back as much as the fans: "There certainly is an interest on the part of a small group of folks to try and save Formula One for Montreal," he said.

"This is a great city. It is passionate about car racing. It's passionate about its sports. That group that is deeply interested loves Montreal as much as the fans do, so there has been an interest in trying to figure out a way to save it."

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Gilles Villeneuve , Eric Gilbert