Ecclestone talks "encouraging" claims Montreal Mayor


Following his meeting with F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, Montreal Mayor Gerald Tremblay described talks aimed at saving the Canadian GP as "encouraging.

"We have a better understanding of the issues," he told the Toronto Star, "we still have a lot of work to do to evaluate all the options, but it is still possible to hold a Grand Prix in Montreal in 2009 and subsequent years."

Tremblay was accompanied at the London meeting by federal International Trade Minister Michael Fortier and Quebec Economic Development Minister Raymond Bachand.

Bachand called on Montreal businesses to get involved in saving the event, whilst also seeking a promoter, one of the key issues that needs to be decided if Canada is to return to the Calendar in 2009.

"We must find a promoter, someone to run the event," he told reporters on his return to Canada. "We must come up with a responsible financial project that makes sense to Mr. Ecclestone and to Montrealers."

It is believed that a promoter would need to find around $30m each year for the next five years in the Grand Prix is to remain in Montreal. With the race only generating $15m, the government and local businesses would need t make up the shortfall.

"Many people have offered to help but they are all part of the elements we would need to evaluate in the coming days to determine if the Grand Prix will survive and who will be the promoter and organizer," said Fortier.

While there has been talk of Cirque du soleil founder Guy Laliberte, a close friend of Ecclestone, putting up some of the money, though this has been denied by his spokeswoman, who told The Speed Network: "The only role that Guy is playing has been as a consultant, that's all. Right now, we're just keeping a close eye on any subsequent developments."

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Published: 24/10/2008
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