Bernie Ecclestone is casting doubts regarding the future of Formula 1 in Canada with comments about conditions at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
The Formula 1 boss is demanding fixes and upgrades at the Montreal facility before he even considers extending the contract to continue racing in Canada, according to reports in Montreal’s La Presse newspaper and on the ESPN F1 website. The current contract expires in 2014.
Ecclestone is particularly not happy with the configuration of the pit area and paddock at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, where floating platforms are used to extend the area in the Olympic basin. The reports say, Ecclestone has demanded a bigger paddock area be built and other repairs made that could cost in the neighbourhood of $15 million (11.6 million Euro). That figure would be above and beyond the current annual $15 million investment made by the city of Montreal, the province of Quebec and the Canadian government. Federal member of parliament Raymond Bachand says he understands Ecclestone “wants to ensure the facilities are in good condition. We must find a way to fund it.”
Canadian Grand Prix race promoter, Francois Dumontier, says there is little cause to believe, if any, the contract with Formula 1 won’t be extended as the work on the facility is in the plans for the years ahead.
“Firstly, it is important to point out that two years remain on the current contract,” says Dumontier. “Taking into consideration that the permanent facilities of the circuit, such as the control tower and the garages, are nearly 25 years old, it is quite likely that work to be carried out on these will be an important part of the negotiations aiming at extending the current contract. Furthermore, it appears premature to mention a precise amount regarding the costs of any potential work.”
The Canadian Grand Prix draws approximately 300,000 people over the course of race weekend and generates some $90 million in revenues. This year’s Canadian Grand Prix will be run on June 10.