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Montreal offers $75 million to get F1 race back

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Montreal offers $75 million to get F1 race back
Aug 6, 2009, 5:29 PM

Following on from the comments from Bernie Ecclestone on Monday that the Canadian Grand Prix will be back on the calendar next year, something the ...

Following on from the comments from Bernie Ecclestone on Monday that the Canadian Grand Prix will be back on the calendar next year, something the F1 teams are urgently demanding, a story has appeared in the Canadian paper the Globe and Mail with details of the offer on the table.

According to the paper's well informed F1 writer, Jeff Pappone, Ecclestone rowed back a little this week from his initial enthusiasm, saying “We’re doing our best to make sure it happens.”

Pappone's story says that Canadian GP officials met Ecclestone in London two weeks ago with a proposal. The deal on the table now is for less money than the one rejected by Ecclestone last time around, but this reflects the economic situation in North America.

"Apparently the proposal was about $75-million over five years," says the story, "Much less than the offer rejected by Ecclestone last November. It is also thought the deal included a promise to pay Ecclestone the money he was owed under the previous arrangement.

"Last November, the city offered Ecclestone a five-year package for $110-million in sanctioning fees as well as 75 per cent of the first $10-million in profit and 25 per cent of the rest. In addition, the estimated $20-million from the race's advertising and luxury box revenue would have gone to Ecclestone. His counter offer of a guaranteed $175-million over five years to keep Montreal on the F1 calendar was too steep for the city and the race was pulled."

I posted recently on CVC's business plan for F1, which envisages the sanctioning fees for races rising by almost 10% year on year, from $374.9 million in 2009 to $445 million in 2012. Discounts are surely not part of that plan. But F1 cannot afford to be absent from North America and with a new Concorde Agreement now having been signed, teams appear to have more say over how things are run. They are calling for races in all the key markets, as their statement yesterday showed,

"FOTA’s attention will now turn to other issues we believe to be in the long-term interest of F1: racing at the best tracks, in front of the biggest audiences and expanding F1’s reach."

With this kind of pressure coming from teams and no other suitable North American venue in the pipeline for 2010 maybe a deal will be done to take the sport back to one of its most popular venues.
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