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Canadians go to London to save GP UPDATE #2 Montreal Mayor Gerald Tremblay reiterated upon his return to Canada on Thursday he is confident the Canadian Grand Prix will be held in Montreal next year.

"We had a very good meeting with (F1 boss) Bernie Ecclestone and I think the signs were encouraging and it is possible we will hold a Grand Prix in Montreal in 2009 and subsequent years," Tremblay said.

"We have a better understanding of the issues and the challenges we are facing."

Tremblay was not alone in trying to persuade Ecclestone to restore the Montreal race to the F1 calendar. He was accompanied at the two-hour meeting in London by federal International Trade Minister Michael Fortier and Quebec Economic Development Minister Raymond Bachand.

Bachand ruled out the event posting a deficit and suggested that Montreal hotels and merchants should become involved in making sure the race is held. 

"We must find a promoter, someone to run the event," Bachand told reporters at Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport.

Fortier said finding a promoter was one of the primary issues in ensuring a Canadian GP in 2009.

"If the F1 survives, who will be the promoter, the organizer?" he said.

"That's the question."

None of the three politicians wanted to specify how much money needs to be put up to ensure the race goes ahead, although Bachand said a number of businesses have expressed interest in helping support a 2009 Canadian GP.

According to some sources, a promoter would need to spend up to $30 million a year over five years to keep the F1 in Montreal. The race generates $15 million in net revenue annually, so governments and business would have to make up the $15 million shortfall.

"We must come up with a responsible financial project that makes sense to Mr. Ecclestone and to Montrealers," said Bachand.  More at Canoe Sports

10/23/08 Montreal Mayor Gerald Tremblay is still holding out hope his city will once again host the Canadian Grand Prix after opening talks with F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone.  Tremblay, federal International Trade Minister Michael Fortier and Quebec Economic Development Minister Raymond Bachand met with Ecclestone in London today to discuss the future of the race.

Tremblay says the two-hour meeting was constructive but that a lot of work remains to be done.

The Quebec politicians will hold a news conference in Montreal this evening to discuss the negotiations.

F1 dropped the Canadian GP from its 2009 calendar, replacing it with a race in Abu Dhabi.

Ecclestone says Montreal has not paid its debts to Formula One for the last three years.

But Tremblay, Fortier and Bachand say the amounts for 2006 and 2007 have been addressed, with the dispute tied to what is owed for 2008.

The event generates an estimated $100 million per year in revenues and economic spinoffs for Montreal.

10/21/08 (GMM)  A delegation is heading to London this week in a bid to save the axed Canadian grand prix.

Montreal mayor Gerald Tremblay will accompany a local Quebec minister, as well as the Canadian federal minister of international trade Michael Fortier, as they meet with Bernie Ecclestone on Thursday, the Montreal radio station CJAD said.

"What we will be discussing is a business deal," Tremblay is quoted as saying by the Canadian business newspaper Financial Post.

"If we do nothing, it is gone."

Fortier said Canada has a five-year contract to stage the grand prix at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve

"There are three years left on it," he noted.  "I believe on the basis of the contract we can move forward.

"It is a surprise to me that we've come to this situation.  We will do whatever we can to see that the grand prix stays in Montreal."

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