Montreal makes last-ditch attempt to save F1 round
A Montreal delegation is on its way to London, England, to try to save the city's Formula One race.
Montreal Mayor Gérald Tremblay, Quebec Economic Development Minister Raymond Bachand and federal Minister of International Trade Michael Fortier are making the transatlantic trip to meet with F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone.
Tremblay said he's confident they'll be able to find a way to put the Montreal race back on the calendar after reviewing related legal documents.
"As a result of that, we're fairly optimistic that we can arrive at a solution with Bernie Ecclestone," he said.
"If he still wants the same amount of money that we've heard, then it would be very, very difficult," Tremblay added. "But he knows that we can't afford that kind of money like other countries throughout the world — but he still wants to talk with us."
But there is a limit to how far Quebec will go, Bachand said. "If the conditions are financially responsible, we'll save this event," he said. "If they're totally unreasonable, we're in trouble."
Media reports on Wednesday suggest the price tag could be as high as $30 million a year to keep the Montreal race over the next five years.
The Journal de Montréal reported that Ecclestone will demand that amount.
With average net revenues of about $15 million, the provincial and federal governments would have to absorb the rest.
Downtown merchants say they're keeping hopes alive the Grand Prix will return next year, and are willing to help.
"We want to show that we're ready, that if need be, we're ready to step up to the plate," said Brian Fogt, a spokesman for the Crescent Street Festival.