Following the announcement by Grand Prix F1 du Canada Inc. President Normand Legault stating that a “commercial dispute” with Bernie Ecclestone has been settled, promoters of the Montreal event announced that the Canadian race would indeed return in 2010 after a one year absence.
For only the second time in over forty years, both the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal and the French GP were dropped last season after organizers failed to meet the notoriously divisive Ecclestone’s exorbitant financial and contractual demands of nearly $175 million over five years. Instead a poorly attended F1 race in Istanbul along with an new race in Abu Dhabi were added last year. The lackluster event in Turkey, which according to some estimates, delivered a paltry 30,000 people in comparison to the nearly 300,000 that attend the events during the race weekend in Montreal, played a huge role in Ecclestone’s reversal.
To sweeten the deal, federal and provincial funds of $5 million with an additional $5 million from a hotel tax in Montreal were to get the race back to the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. The event brings an estimated $100 million per year in revenues and economic derivatives to the city.
In nearly the same breath as that which delivered the good news, Ecclestone ruled out a return to Indianapolis, which last hosted an F1 race in 2007.