Official: Canadian GP axed

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Efforts to save the Canadian Grand Prix for 2009 are officially over.

The mayor of Montreal said:

We were constantly guided in our negotiations by principles of responsible management. However, despite our endeavours and those of the business community, the unreasonable demands of Formula One exceeded the taxpayer’s ability to pay. I would like to thank my colleagues from the federal and provincial governments and members of the business community who joined forces in an attempt to save the Grand Prix. Their concerted efforts attest to Montreal’s vitality and could prove an opportunity for creating a development fund for new events of all kinds that would stimulate the economy, tourism and employment.

Minister Raymond Bachand added:

Whenever the Grand Prix of Canada needed help from the Government of Quebec, we were there. We worked very hard over the past few weeks to ensure there would be a Grand Prix in Montreal, while staying fiscally responsible. We cannot meet Mr. [Bernie] Ecclestone’s unworkable demands. Unless he eases his requirements and adopts a different approach, there will be no Grand Prix in Montreal in 2009.

I don’t expect that to happen. Ecclestone seems more keen to make sure China stays on the calendar.

In 2009, F1 will have no race in North America. Canada has multitudes of passionate F1 fans, who continued to fill the circuit each year despite having no hoem driver to cheer on. There will be race for them next year, because Bernie Ecclestone has priced another classic F1 venue out of the market.

I hope this depressing and damaging trend is reversed very soon.

F1 2009 season
2009 F1 calendar

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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15 comments on “Official: Canadian GP axed”

  1. I think it’s a bloody shame. As time goes on, it seems as though Ecclestone is doing more and more damage to F1 and its brand. He may think F1 is dead in North America, but he’s far from right.

  2. This is going to keep happening until Bernie retires. It’s just all about money for him.

  3. I blame Bernie. Period. He must go. Like the France family in NASCAR, he is stangling the sport. And look at the hideous spectacle NASCAR has become. F1 is not far behind.

  4. Bernie & Max have to go. Instead of making 30 million he only makes 25 million, he’s out of it. The same guy who doesn’t care about losing the British GP, yet is trying to make other cicuits change their start time to fit UK time.

  5. IF Ecclestone goes do you think the next “Boss” will be any less greedy?

  6. I think it’s time the teams start to force Bernies hand , maybe threaten another break away , like they had done in the past , but this time with much more intent and commitment , so that F1 does not end up racing in the middle and far east only , as appears to be the direction it is heading. What I can’t figure out , from what I read , it appears the interest in China for F1 was a novelty , and already the support has reduced drastically , the race there borders on the mundane to say the least , yet BE. will do anything he possibly can to keep it ? Maybe there are things the general F1 supporters don’t understand , but as it stands , it just does not make any sense to me.

  7. pure greed on bernies part and it’s disgusting, he’s loaded anyway. more supporters and more events will mean more revenue and sponsors, why he’s killing off the whole US / Canada is crazy.

    I’ve always thought they should go from asia, then over to east cost US, then canada, then west coast US, then back into europe.

  8. Now, hold on everyone. If this correspondence is accurate, the Canadian promoter has stiffed Bernie for three years running:

    As you know, the previous promoter Grand Prix F1 du Canada Inc defaulted on its payment obligations to us three years in succession and it would be fair to say that my Board and other key constituents to whom I am accountable are far from happy with the position.

    Bernie was asking for a guarantor that the new promoter would pay the bills, and evidently Canada couldn’t put one together.

  9. HounslowBusGarage
    17th November 2008, 12:47

    That’s interesting DC, unfortunately I can’t get the link to work. Does it mention how much money was unpaid?

  10. No, it didn’t say. It looks like Keith has the same link at the start of this article. You might try that one.

    Edit: Wait, the URL might have changed, or else I copied it incorrectly. Try this one: [ 1 ] .pdf

    Just delete the spaces around the brackets. For some reason the brackets won’t work with copy-and-paste.

  11. HounslowBusGarage
    17th November 2008, 14:06

    Thanks for the revised link, DC. This is an interesting bit from Bernie’s reply to Montreal.

    “. . . it would be a condition for any new contract . . . that the performance of the race promotor be fully guaranteed and underwritten by the Government, the City, and/or an institution of sound financial repute.
    Given the heavy losses and write-offs we have incurred over the past three years, I am unable to yield on this point.”

    I wonder how much money FOM actually lost? According to the letter from Michael Fortier, they recognise the 2008 race was run at a loss.
    To be honest, if a customer defaulted three times on payment to me, I wouldn’t give them a fourth chance either. But I think it’s a bit rich of Bernie to insist that FOM would not share any of the financial risk of the race.

  12. Well, without seeing the original contract I don’t think we can tell. But apparently the Canadian promoter didn’t hold up his end of the bargain. I’m rather surprised that they let the promoter default for three straight years. There must have been a clause in the contract or something to keep FOM coming back, even though they couldn’t pick up their accounts receivable.

  13. DC- You make a very god point about the Canadian promoters not paying their bill from the last few years. But let’s also remember that Bernie’s fees are suffocatingly high, and only increase every year. It has gotten to the point where the vast majority of circuits on the calendar, even the ones like Hockenheim and Albert Park that are supported by local governments, are struggling to pay to stay on the calendar. I place the blame with this on Bernie and his continued quest for excess money, rather than with the promoters who tried their best to stage a good event.

    Also, it is quite ironic to see that Bernie was demanding a guarentee from the race promoters that would ensure that FOM was not going to lose money. I would like to remind you all that in the past, when asked about potential venues and title sponsors for the USGP, Bernie has been more than critical of the same demands from potential partners in bringing back the USGP. I guess in Bernie’s world it is ok to ensure he will make a profit, but to ge the same request from another party is unacceptable……..

  14. Jean- The recent events in China were shocking to me because until now, Asia has been nothing but receptive to Bernie and his FOM machine. While venues in North America and Europe force him to negotiate and play on even terms, the Asian nations were rolling out the red carpet and throwing out whatever money was needed in order to meet his every demand.I think many Asian nations view F1 as a sort of poor man’s Olympics- brinning in big money and plenty of international press- for a fraction of the cost and on a yearly basis. Now, suddenly, even his Asian worshippers are getting sick and tired of losing big money on their GP, and perhaps Bernie is getting a taste of his own medicine for once.

    Perhaps one of Bernie’s motivating factors in wanting China to stay is not wanting to see one of his pet projects go down in failure. Plus, I think in his mind he really dose envision over a billion Chinese citizens going mad over F1 one day and then packing the Shanghai stands to capacity. At the same time, he is more than willing to disregard the “dying markets” and shed Indy/Montreal/Silverstone/Magny Cours in favor of nations with almost zero motorsport tradition and appreciation. Sure, you and I are on much more logical ground, but that dosen’t stop the hatchet man for one moment…..

  15. No race in NA is a huge letdown. The costs to the fans to travel to the races now are prohibiting the exposure for the future fans. As a father hoping to take a 8 year to his 1st F1 race. the closeset is the BGP and at $12k (US) for a long weekend…it is not going to happen this year.

    Indianopolis wil be as close as we will get to a live race along with a nice new television to watch F1.
    disgusted withthe money and the Canadians should have been better with the finaces…

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