Grand Prix is officially returning to Montreal
Published Friday, November 27, 2009 5:22PM EST
One of the worst-kept secrets in the city has been confirmed.
Friday afternoon Mayor Gerald Tremblay acknowledged that Formula One racing will return to Montreal for 2010, and the four years after that.
"Today, Formula One says yes to Montreal, and Montreal says yes to Formula One, but not at any price," said Tremblay.
But there is a price: all three levels of government have reached a deal that will see taxpayers give $75 million to Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone over the next five years.
A substantial amount, but $100 million less than what Ecclestone was initially demanding.
Until at least 2014, Montreal will remain the only North American city on the Grand Prix circuit.
CTV's Daniele Hamamdjian says the announcement is huge for Montreal's economy.
"I spoke to one business owner who said they make five times more than in any other week," she told CTV News at Noon.
Hotel owners, restaurateurs and bartenders say the Grand Prix attracts a high-spending crowd, with reports tourists spend $90 million that week alone.
F1 fans are thrilled that their beloved race is returning.
Franco Marino was working on his 1974 Alfa Romeo when he heard the news.
"Oh, I started banging on the frigging steering in the car," said Marino. "Happy, happy. Mama, I am happy!"
The longstanding event was pulled from the F1 calendar in 2009 because of contractual differences between Ecclestone and race promoter Normand Legault.
Legault has since quit.