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Montreal organisers agree new 10-year deal

NEWS STORY
07/06/2014

Organisers of the Canadian Grand Prix have agreed a new ten-year deal with Bernie Ecclestone.

The race, which remains one of the most popular on the calendar with drivers and fans alike, rarely fails to produce something special.

"If we had the authority to announce the agreement it is because we have the full support of our people," Montreal mayor Denis Coderre told reporters. "Regarding Mr. Ecclestone and ourselves, everything is OK. Because it is taxpayers’ money we have to go through the political process but for us it is a formality."

It is understood that other than the sanction fee the new deal includes a major overhaul of the paddock and track, the circuit, although popular, being one of the most dilapidated on the calendar. That said, it simply oozes character, unlike the various ‘blinged-up’ featureless excuses for tracks that have surfaced in recent years.

Over the ten years of the new deal the Government of Canada and Tourism Montreal will each contribute C$62.4m (£33.9m), Quebec C$49.9m (£27.1m) and Montreal C$12.4m (£6.7m). The City of Montreal will also pay for the track upgrades which are estimated at around C$30m (£16.3m).

"You can feel the passion all over the place," said Coderre. "It is not just a business deal. This is the place of Gilles Villeneuve, Jacques Villeneuve. It is part of our DNA and everybody feels that. We're not talking about expense, we are talking about investment. We are seeing that it is a window to the world.

"This is a positive outcome for Montreal," he added. "The Canadian Grand Prix is part and parcel of Montreal, one of the big international events that builds our outstanding reputation as one of the world's great cities."

"I am delighted with the agreement reached between the commercial rights holder and the governments of Canada and Quebec and the City of Montreal and Tourism Montreal," added promoter Francois Dumontier.

The event, which is estimated to bring around C$70m (£38.1m) to the local economy each year was dropped in 2009 due to "financial issues", the first time Montreal was missing from the calendar since 1987, leaving north America without an F1 race for the first time since 1958.

Check out our Saturday gallery, here.

Chris Balfe

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