Could this year's Canadian Grand Prix be held without an audience?
MONTREAL -- The Canadian Grand Prix could go ahead as planned in Montreal this summer, though with no spectators in the stands, according to media reports.
According to a report in La Presse, Liberty Media, which owns the F1 race, is demanding an additional $6 million to cover the losses of local promoter Octane Racing Group should the race go on without an audience.
Although Public Health has yet to weigh in, a spectator-less Grand Prix seems to be the most plausible avenue at the present time.
The $6 million would cover revenue usually generated at the box office.
Octane declined to comment.
According to the La Presse report, municipal, provincial and federal governments were notified of the demand by letter last week. Formula One would need an answer by April 12 at the latest.
Officials with Tourism Ministry confirmed discussions are underway but would not comment further.
A spokesperson for the City of Montreal said the city is ready and willing to aid the event. Mayor Valerie Plante reiterated her call for higher levels of government to find solutions that would allow the Grand Prix to proceed.
But public health authorities said it's premature to discuss the conditions under which the race could be held.
Should the sides fail to reach a deal, F1 could consider moving the race to Istanbul, Turkey, where a Grand Prix was held in 2020 due to a revision to the schedule caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Montreal race is currently scheduled for June 11 to 13. Promoter Francois Dumontier said he is pushing for it to be held at all costs, after last year's edition was cancelled.
Dumontier said at the end of March that F1 teams can respect the quarantine imposed on all those entering Canada.
Several weeks ago, Canada reached a deal with the National Hockey League to allow players entering the country to only quarantine for seven days, rather than the usual 14.