F1 to return to Montreal in 2010

UPDATE #4 (GMM) The path is now clear for the Canadian grand prix to return to the formula one calendar, the promoters of the Montreal event announced in a media statement on Monday.

Grand Prix F1 du Canada Inc president Normand Legault said a "commercial dispute" with Bernie Ecclestone has been settled, and an "announcement is forthcoming" about the return of the race in 2010.

"I never doubted that the Canadian race would regain its rightful place on the FIA schedule, and my discussions with F1 management led me to believe that the event would return soon," he said.

The race at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve was not held in 2009, to the chagrin of F1's teams, manufacturers, sponsors and fans.

Legault also announced on Monday that he is not planning to stay on as the race's local promoter due to the "economic model currently prevailing in formula one".

08/25/09 (GMM) The potential organizers of a 2010 Canadian grand prix have refused to comment on the latest reports about formula one returning to Montreal.

It is reported that Bernie Ecclestone last weekend showed team bosses a calendar for next year that includes a round at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

But with the track hosting NASCAR this weekend, a spokesman for the race organizers said it would be "disrespectful to our guests" to talk about formula one right now, according to the Montreal Gazette.

08/14/09 (GMM) The mayor of Montreal has finally penciled some dates onto rising speculation that the Canadian grand prix is set to return to the formula one calendar.

Gerald Tremblay said in an Associated Press report that it is looking "very good" that Circuit Gilles Villeneuve will host a race next June.

He also said he is confident an official announcement will be made prior to the publication of F1's first 2010 race calendar in September.

"There are still certain commitments which have been made that have to be refined," said Tremblay. "Right now, we're trying to finalize this agreement in the best interests of Montreal."

Also confident of a new deal is Francois Dumontier, the chief organizer of the Montreal race in recent years.

"I would say that I'm pretty optimistic about it. I think there are a lot of things to do yet, but it's okay to be optimistic about it, yes," he told the Montreal Gazette.

Dumontier suggested that an official announcement could be coming within two weeks, as he urged those involved to delay the news until after Montreal has hosted its NASCAR round at the end of August.

"I'd prefer that they wait a little bit before they announce anything because it's (less than) three weeks until our NASCAR race," he said. "I'd like all the attention to be on our event."

08/13/09 (GMM) The mayor of Montreal on Thursday confirmed that a final agreement to bring formula one back to the Canadian city is nigh.

The French language newspaper La Presse earlier reported that minor details and funding are now the only obstacles to reviving the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve event ahead of the 2010 season, after it was conspicuously absent from this season's schedule.

Responding to the reports, mayor Gerald Tremblay told Canadian media that a tentative deal with Bernie Ecclestone, who also hinted at the arrangement in recent interviews, has been reached.

The reports said a date for the race has not been set, but a provisional 2010 calendar is expected to be published within weeks.

08/13/09 (GMM) The price-tag for taking formula one back to Canada has plummeted by $100m for a new five year deal, according to local reports.

Last year, negotiations with the Montreal race organizers ended when Bernie Ecclestone's demands for a $175m five-year agreement were turned down.

Now, after the F1 chief executive said talks are back on track to restore the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve round for 2010, the local Globe and Mail newspaper said the proposed new deal is for just $75m for five years.

The newspaper said Ecclestone's hand was forced due to the economic recession and teams' "desire to return to North America".

The Globe and Mail also said the 78-year-old was pressured by his bosses at CVC, the majority owners of F1's commercial rights, to keep carmakers including Renault and Toyota happy and committed to the sport.

"It seems CVC decided to appease them with a quick return to North America," said the report.

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