Still a small chance for Canada

Since the disclosure of the fax sent to Normand Legault from Formula One Management, the race promoter has spoken to Bernie Ecclestone but so far the Canadian Grand Prix is still off the 2004 calendar. Legault believes it is perhaps possible for...

Since the disclosure of the fax sent to Normand Legault from Formula One Management, the race promoter has spoken to Bernie Ecclestone but so far the Canadian Grand Prix is still off the 2004 calendar. Legault believes it is perhaps possible for the race to be reinstated but only if teams were willing to race without tobacco sponsors.

"I spoke to him (Ecclestone) on the telephone (yesterday) and we're still missing from the 2004 calendar," said Legault at a news conference at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. "I think there is still a small chance of getting the race back on the 2004 calendar, but I have to admit it's thin."

"That would be if Bernie Ecclestone accepted that the cars would race without tobacco advertising in the race like they do in France and Great Britain. However, without that advertising we would have to find (Canadian) $20m in sponsorship from somewhere else."

Mayor Gerald Tremblay thinks Montreal should be given exemption from the tobacco bans for the next two years, until the European ban comes into force in the summer of 2005. Tremblay urged Formula One to rethink its commitment to tobacco sponsorship.

"Maybe the time has come now for the Formula One racing community to understand that maybe there's other ways to do it because if you look at the amount of sponsorship coming from tobacco companies, it's been reduced year after year," he said.

Legault is planning to go to the Hungarian GP next weekend in order to lobby team bosses and manufacturers to convince Ecclestone to return the Montreal race to the calendar. "At a Grand Prix, you'll have not only the team principals but also a number of the engine manufacturers there as well as the tyre people," he said. "It's a lot of one-on-one. It's door-to-door salesmanship."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Gilles Villeneuve , Bernie Ecclestone