Montreal promoter relieved after stressful F1 weekend

Race promoter Francois Dumontier admitted he was relieved after the Canadian grand prix was run without incident on Sunday.

The protesting university students and a heavy police and security presence around Montreal has been obvious this weekend. But according to the La Presse newspaper, Dumontier said the ticket sales decline was ultimately lower than expected.

“I am relieved,” he said. “I can’t deny that the last two weeks have been challenging — it’s already hard enough to organise a grand prix!

“We had a good weekend,” added Dumontier. “Despite the threats, the event was not disrupted. People could get in. I don’t have the latest figures, but it was a good day today because the stands were well filled.”

He said he hopes next year’s event is less stressful.

“I hope we can have a grand prix next year under normal conditions,” said Dumontier.

Although relieved and happy, he admitted the 2012 event will be a financial loss.

“For sure we will (record a loss) and that’s a shame as we are a private company,” he said.

But Dumontier also revealed that meetings took place over the weekend between race and government officials and Bernie Ecclestone, regarding the extension of the contract for 2014-2024.

“We have been talking for several months so it is ongoing,” he said. “There are no obstacles at the moment. He (Ecclestone) was here and so were some ministers so we took the opportunity to speak together.”