Contract problems nixed Canadian GP: F1 boss
Montreal was dropped from the 2009 Formula One schedule because of contract problems, according to F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone.
While Ecclestone refused to go into detail, he told Bloomberg News on Wednesday that a technical issue involving Montreal's contract led to the decision to pull the plug on the popular event for next season.
"It's a technical problem with the contract,'' Ecclestone revealed during a phone interview. "Next year, we'll lose it for sure."
Paul Wilson, vice-president of marketing for the Canadian Grand Prix, said it was a matter of rising costs.
"For us, it's not viable, because the cost of the plateau is getting too expensive," Wilson told reporters at a press conference Wednesday afternoon in Montreal.
"If you go check on the Internet, and see what they did in Shanghai and Abu Dhabi, these people are willing to pay big money for these races. That's why it's not viable for us."
Wilson added that they would have had to quadruple ticket prices to make the Montreal race financially worthwhile.
If the race is to return to Montreal, it'll be up to the Canadian government to intervene, according to Wilson.
Wilson said Michael Fortier, the Conservative Minister for the Montreal region, has spoken to F1 Ecclestone at the urging of Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
"I know that Michael wants to start moving things and wants to have meetings and as I said to him today, if he needs our help to speak to people and build a business plan of what it could be like, we'll be there for sure.
"It's for them to call the shots. If they say we think it's a good idea for the city, for the province, for the country, let's go for it."
The 2009 season could mark the first since 1987 that Canada will not be hosting a Formula One race.
On Tuesday, the International Automobile Federation (FIA) released the F1 calendar for 2009, moving the Turkish Grand Prix from August to June 7 to replace the Montreal race.
Organizers have added the inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as part of its schedule for November 2009.
The decision allows the teams a summer break between the Hungarian GP on July 26 and the European GP at Valencia, Spain, on Aug. 23.
Estimates suggest that every year, the Grand Prix brought 200,000 race fans to Montreal and generated an estimated $50 million to $80 million in revenue.
With files from Canadian Press