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Some grands prix succeed and some don’t. Some muscle their way onto the Formula One calendar with all the hopes and aspirations of becoming a motor sport haven and achieve that status while others fade like the bumper of a 1980’s Ford leaving only the bare, yellow plastic that once was a substantial veneer on an otherwise nice product. The Canadian Grand Prix has been the success story for many years and now as the contract renewal approaches, some are concerned about the Federal, provincial and local governments ability to execute a new contract with Formula One Management.

It’s has often been rumored that the sanctioning fee can be in the range of $25 million and that number is certainly one that was thrown about loosely when the Austin race was being coordinated. For Canada, government support is and has been afforded and some are concerned if that support will continue as local bar owner, Ziggy Eichenbaum told Global News:

“We’re worried about that,” he said. “We don’t know if the government of Quebec or Ottawa are going to say,  ’well, it’s not bringing us anything, let’s bail out.”

The problem for Ziggy, and many business owners like him, is that the race generates nearly $90 million for Montreal and it represents 30-40% of his annual business. That’s a huge impact for local owners and one that can certainly be measured at the local level but are the Federal folks on board? An official Federal statement, received by Global News, stated:

“We will work with the promoter and the other levels of government to see if it is possible to keep this event here, while respecting the taxpayers’ ability to pay,”

The article suggests that there maintenance for the park / street circuit is $15 million per year and this is on top of the $25 million sanctioning fee. It also argues that the exclusivity the Canadian Grand Prix once held has gone with Austin and  potentially New York coming on board but those venues are not Canada. Canada is a great country with a rich history and a cultural feel all its own. Most Americans I know who attend the race do so because it is a truly great experience and has an international vibe that you do not get here on home soil. I suspect that’s because they get to hear the French language and butcher it with reckless abandon.

The cash will always determine the possibility of losing any grand prix. Let us hope, for F1, Canada and even America, that the Federal, Provincial and Local governments get together to save the race. I suspect they will get a deal done and if FOM has to take a bit of a haircut, they would do well to consider that as Austin, possibly New York and a potential west coast race will become a achievable goal for Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone. It is, after all, a global sport and ignoring the world’s biggest consumer market is just daft. This includes, much as they may not like to be lumped in with the American market nuance, the wonderful nation of Canada.

Nod to Billy Shields, of Global News, who carried the story and a video interview can be found here.

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An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry and as a CTO, he focuses on technology integration in commercial workspace design, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.
  • Rapierman

    You have to argue that it’s in the Canadian government’s best interest to be a part of the “North American” sector (USA, USA East, Canada, soon to be Mexico). Outside of Canadinan Football, F1 racing and Hockey, where else do you hear Canada mentioned?

    That said, I don’t know exactly how Canadian tax laws work, but if it’s anything like the US laws, governments are supposed to be “non-profit”: They shouldn’t expect to make any money out of anything. That’s not their job. if they do make some profit, they should count themselves lucky.

  • MIE

    Surely Bernie needs Canada as a venue as part of his plan to expand the number of races in the US time zone (Canada, COTA, Brazil, New Jersey?, Mexico?). While he and FOM may want more money from the race, they also need the race so a deal will be found.

    As the powers that be have gone to great lengths to recreate the sort of race that we had in Canada 2010, it would appear idiotic to get rid of the circuit that provided the blueprint for what they consider to be the ‘ideal’ race. Now that I have typed that last sentence it makes me more worried for the race than I was before…

  • Joie Puckett

    I feel that F1 needs Canada as part of a larger, long-term plan to expand in North America.

  • Sue DeMar

    The Canada GP is a fantastic event because of Montreal. I would go back every year if I could. You couldn’t ask for a better time with the great food, hotels, and events around the city. I would hate to see it off the calendar. Still have my doubts about the NJ race happening. I live in Austin so I will attend our race, but I still long to go to Montreal.

  • charlie w

    The one thing that could save Montreal from falling under Bernie’s axe of greed could be the teams and manufacturers. The teams love Montreal as a venue and the manufactures loves Montreal as another entry in the North American market(regardless if they sell cars in the USA or not). And I always thought its position in the calender remained rather secure if the Jersey race ever comes together since it served the heavily populated Northeast corridor.

  • danfgough

    Having visited a few different F1 races I view Canada as probably my favourite experience. Silverstone and Spa have brilliant atmosphere but even in the frenzy of Mansell/Hill mania the atmosphere is only there at the circuit and the campsites. In Montreal it spreads to the whole city!

  • not only is montreal as a city a a fantastic venue due to the atmosphere and how the whole city gets behind it, the grandstands are always packed, there are probably more people in the stands in the support races and practices, vs the numbers you will see at races like bahrain, or china! On top of that don’t forget how action packed the canadian grandprix always is, always great passing and racing here, it’s never a dull race.

  • if anyone wants to take a look at what it’s like to experience the canadian gp, you can see some of my photo albums on my blog from the 2011 canadian GP

    Practice 1 and 2:
    http://imaginationinfocus.blog.com/2011/06/19/vacation-part-3/

    Qualifying and race
    http://imaginationinfocus.blog.com/2011/08/01/vacation-part-4/

    Montreal during race weekend:
    http://imaginationinfocus.blog.com/2011/06/18/vacation-part-2/

  • Marco

    This one is on the Provincial and federal governments and not in the F1… After 43 years of canadian GP’s and 33 of them in Montreal (all with success), it’s clear that the Gilles Villeneuve race track is now one of the ‘classic’ races. Everything makes sense around the GP du Canada, from the sport to the financial side…Is just about the stupid politicians to give the money and make it work… and it’s nor even about the money, it’s about politics… the agreement between Quebec (province’s capital) and Ottawa (nations capital)… The investment is 15 to 20 millions per year… the profits for the city –> 90 – 100 millions… a non-brainer!

    With all due respect to my american friends, it’s clear the USA can’t build a F1 tradition, they are simply not interested… Indy, Long Beach, Detroit, Watkins, Phoenix, Dallas…. it comes and goes… the F1 can no rely on the USA to keep north America as a market… USA have to many different categories and no american F1 driver. The true american F1 fans, they all come to Montreal and they appreciate the ‘tradition’ built around the GPC.

    I’m very confident they will reach an agreement and the Grand Prix would stay for another 10 years!!!.

    Bienvenue au Quebec!!! (the wall of champions salutes you!!!)

    Salut Gilles!!!

  • Edu

    Flipante la tercera posición de Valtteri Bottas, por lo demas lo esperado, Masa la vuelve a liar, y Vettel otra vez en la primera plaza, Aunque el Gran Premio de Canadá es la carrera con la menor relación entre poleman y ganador de todo el campeonato las casas de apuestas ya dan como favorito http://apuestas.betfair.es/motor/apuestas-formula-1-mercedes-es-la-rueda-a-seguir-en-canada-070613-441.html a RB, en fin esperemos un milagro de Alonso……