Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal cancelled for second straight year due to health crisis
MONTREAL -- The Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal has been cancelled for the second year in a row due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The news was revealed at a new conference in Quebec City on the Grand Prix Wednesday morning that included federal Minister of Economic Development Melanie Joly, Quebec Minister of Tourism Pierre Fitzgibbon, Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante and Quebec Minister Responsible for the Montreal Region Caroline Proulx.
The federal and provincial governments have reached an agreement to extend the F1 event in Montreal for two years to make up for the 2020 and 2021 cancelled races. Those races will take place in 2030 and 2031 with the partners committing $25 million and $26 million for those editions.
Canada and Quebec said in a statement they will invest up to $5.5 million to promote next year's race and to help bring tourists back to Montreal when health conditions permit.
"The impact of COVID-19 on the tourism sector has been severe. However, Canada is preparing to welcome visitors from here and abroad when the health situation permits," said Joly in a statement. "We will make the strategic investments necessary to create jobs for Canadians and help our entrepreneurs, so that our economy can come back strong once we emerge from this crisis."
Plante said the city plans to host other events throughout the summer despite the F-1's cancellation.
"I am confident still that Montreal will be a very cool and fun place to be this summer," she said.
Joly said plans are in the works to lure international tourists back to Montreal in the ffuture.
"We will be targeting F1 fans, more specifically international tourists and asking them when it is safe to do so to come and visit us in Montreal, in the beautiful province of Quebec and of course across the country. International tourists are the ones that spend the most when they come and see us. So in that sense, this will be good news for people working in restaurants and our hotels and our small businesses across downtown Montreal, the Old Port of Montreal, as well as of course we will be making sure that there are great F1-related festivities," she said.
Fitzgibbon said the decision was made jointly between the Montreal and Quebec governments based on advice from the public health bodies.
"We decided it was the best decision to be taken to cancel the Formula 1 race," he said.
The Canadian Grand Prix is a 70-lap race that was scheduled to take place June 13 on Montreal's Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve. The 2020 cancelled F1 race was moved to Instanbul, Turkey.
Debates over holding the race over the past weeks went back and forth over safety concerns in holding the race including concerns from promoter Octane Racing Group about federal quarantine requirements for those coming from overseas.
On April 15, Montreal public health issued an unfavourable notice about holding the event even behind closed doors.
F1 owner Liberty Media was asking for $6 million to cover revenue lost at the box office if the race was held without fans.