Formula 1 says talks continue with promoters despite reports the Canadian Grand Prix will be cancelled for the second straight year.
The race, scheduled for June 13 at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, was set to be the first outside of Europe and the Middle East since the Covid-19 pandemic began over a year ago.
But current quarantine guidelines in Canada, which F1 would be unable to follow, and concerns from public health authorities that the event could be a Covid ‘superspreader’ with fans in attendance means there has been a recent push towards holding the race behind closed doors.
For that to happen, it was claimed F1 is demanding an extra $6m from local governments to cover the costs of holding the race without fans, creating another hurdle on the race’s path.
“We are told [that] because there won’t be any spectators there would have to be compensation from the government, and we already have given quite a lot,” said Quebec Premier Francois Legault via Motorsport Week.
“The worry we have is if we don’t have the Grand Prix in 2021, what will happen in 2022, between 2022 and 2029, because, let’s not forget, the Grand Prix is the event where there’s about the most real economic [benefit] as that is money that comes from foreign lands and is spent here in Quebec.
“Of course we always make sure that the help that is given [to the event] is less to the real economic advantages in Quebec, and there’s no conclusions on that right now.”
But with a final call needed imminently to prepare the circuit or find a replacement, local media declared on Thursday that the decision had been taken to cancel.
“We are continuing our discussions with the promoter in Canada and have no further comment,” an F1 spokesperson said in response.