Montreal's 2020 Canadian Grand Prix officially cancelled
Without spectators, cost of bringing race cars from Europe became prohibitive
The 2020 Formula One Canadian Grand Prix has been officially cancelled, race organizers announced Friday morning.
François Dumontier, the president of the Canadian Grand Prix, said there was still hope for Montreal to host until yesterday, when F1 president Chase Carey told him that the cost to transport cars to North America for only one race was too great.
"The turning point was at the moment when public health authorities said if the event took place, it would have to happen without spectators," Dumontier said. "Without spectators and without revenues, it's not viable."
F1 announced Friday that the other races planned for the Americas — in the U.S., Mexico and Brazil — have also been cancelled this year.
The organization has announced more races will be held in Europe in the fall.
Organizers hoped to reschedule for Thanksgiving weekend
The Canadian race, originally scheduled for June 12 to 14, was postponed in April. At the time, organizers said they hoped to reschedule the event. Dumontier confirmed that organizers had been considering holding the race over the Thanksgiving weekend, from Oct. 9 to 11.
Just three weeks ago, he said, F1 officials had sent the garage assignments for drivers in the race.
Dumontier said disappointment about the cancellation was more pronounced because two Montreal-born drivers, Lance Stroll and Nicholas Latifi, were slated to take part. In March, ticket sales were up about 30 per cent over 2019, Dumontier said.
He said the Canadian Grand Prix would survive because, in spite of zero revenue, few expenses have been incurred since they haven't had to prepare the race facilities.
However, he said the economic impact on the province would be considerable. The tourism industry looks forward to the event, in which about 56 per cent of attendees come from outside the province. Last year, Dumontier said, hotels had a 94 per cent occupancy rate during race weekend.
Those with tickets to the 2020 event will be able to use them in 2021, Dumontier said. Alternatively, refunds will be available.