Quebec officials and politicians have vowed to try and save the Canadian Grand Prix. Earlier this month, it was revealed that Canada would not be hosting a Formula One race as of next season.
“The Grand Prix is an event that we cannot afford to lose, and that we will not lose,” Federal Minister of International Trade Michael Fortier explained to newspaper The Globe and Mail. “The Canadian Grand Prix is a common good that belongs to all Montrealers and all Quebeckers, we must do whatever it takes to ensure it returns to the calendar for 2009.”
According to Fortier, Bernie Ecclestone hasn t ruled out Canada out as a future venue for F1, although there has been no confirmation of when the race will be put back onto the calendar. Fortier, along with two other senior ministers, are looking to meet with Ecclestone as soon as possible to discuss the issue.
One of the major factors concerning the race appears to be money, with no-one willing to state how much money they are prepared to pay out to host the race again. It is rumoured that current promoters paid around $15 million a year for rights to the race, and it is unclear whether the city are prepared to pay any money towards the race whatsoever. With some countries willing to pay around $50 million a year for rights to host a Formula One race, it is clear that money is probably one of the motivating factors behind the race being dropped for 2009.
Despite the possible hike in fees, Fortier also explained that the race was the number one tourist event in Canada and that the government were potentially interested in putting together a rescue package for the race, not for the sporting pedigree, but because it is one of the central points of the country s tourism industry.