Any hope that the Canadian Grand Prix might be saved has clearly ended, with Montreal officials accusing F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone of making "unreasonable demands".
Although the Canada has been omitted from the two provisional calendars issued thus far, the local government was working hard behind the scenes in an effort to save the race. As recently as last week, a new scheme was unveiled whereby local businesses were looking at an additional percentage point on the local tax rate in order to raise some of the required funding.
However, a statement from Gérald Tremblay, Mayor of Montréal, Raymond Bachand, The Minister of Economic Development, Innovation and Export Trade, Minister of Tourism and Minister responsible for the Montréal region, and the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada and responsible for the greater Montreal, on the official City of Montreal website ends all hope of the event being saved.
It reads as follows:
"We were constantly guided in our negotiations by principles of responsible management. However, despite our endeavours and those of the business community, the unreasonable demands of Formula One exceeded the taxpayer's ability to pay. I would like to thank my colleagues from the federal and provincial governments and members of the business community who joined forces in an attempt to save the Grand Prix. Their concerted efforts attest to Montréal's vitality and could prove an opportunity for creating a development fund for new events of all kinds that would stimulate the economy, tourism and employment," said the Mayor of Montréal.
"Whenever the Grand Prix of Canada needed help from the Government of Québec, we were there. We worked very hard over the past few weeks to ensure there would be a Grand Prix in Montréal, while staying fiscally responsible. We cannot meet Mr. Ecclestone's unworkable demands. Unless he eases his requirements and adopts a different approach, there will be no Grand Prix in Montréal in 2009," said Minister Raymond Bachand.
"This is a loss for Greater Montréal and for all Canadians. The Grand Prix was a window on the world for Montréal and for the rest of Canada. I would like to salute my predecessor, the Honourable Michael Fortier, for his efforts to save this event-efforts that were unfortunately unable to meet the unrealistic demands of Mr. Ecclestone. As I recently said, 'yes to a Grand Prix, but not at any price,'" said the Honourable Paradis.