Canadian GP in doubt, F1 ‘ask for extra $6m’

Tom Rawcliffe
Lewis Hamilton Canadian Grand Prix 2019 PA

Lewis Hamilton Canadian Grand Prix 2019 PA

F1 could be set to lose another race from its packed 2021 schedule with the Canadian Grand Prix in doubt, unless their government stumps up $6m to pay to Formula 1.

The event, scheduled to take place at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal on the weekend of June 11-13, could be cancelled for the second year in a row if spectators are not able to attend due to restrictions caused by the health pandemic.

That is according to information in a report from La Presse, which states Formula 1 leaders are requesting around six million dollars in compensation if the grand prix is unable to welcome fans, and they are expecting to hear back from the government in the coming days.

If the race cannot go ahead as expected, it has been reported the Turkish Grand Prix has already been identified as its replacement – the race where Lewis Hamilton sealed his seventh World Championship victory last season.

However, the Mayor of Montreal, Valerie Plante, is hopeful they can come to an agreement and still welcome Formula 1 as planned.

“For us, Formula 1 is important, and the message we want to send to all partners is that we have a great interest in this event,” said Plante.

“We hope it will be held on the same date as usual. There are still a lot of details to tie up, but I really hope our government partners will be on board, as we are, to ensure the event is held this summer.”

Canadian Grand Prix grandstand PA
Canadian Grand Prix grandstand PA

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Getting the race on as usual will not just cost the six million dollars F1 has requested, but will amount to a fee of around $25m in total, given the normal royalty payment of around $18.7 million on top.

Montreal will no doubt be doing all they can to ensure they can host the race this year but there are plenty of details still to be resolved, many of which rely on the country’s position in terms of the pandemic.

Currently, 14 days of compulsory quarantine is required when entering Canada, but Formula 1 is in Baku, Azerbaijan the weekend before the Montreal race so that would not be possible.

It would, of course, be disappointing for those involved if they were unable to put the race on, but the future of its place on the Formula 1 calendar is not in jeopardy, with a reported deal in place for the Canadian GP to run until at least 2029.

If Canada cannot go ahead, it would join Vietnam and China – the latter indefinitely postponed rather than officially cancelled – in falling off this year’s schedule. Imola and Portimao have been added, while Australia has been put back from March to November.

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