Montreal must upgrade track or lose grand prix

Aerial view over the Circuit Ile Notre Dame, situated on a man-made island in the centre of the St. Lawrence River in Montreal. Montreal, Canada, 2002. DIGITAL IMAGE

Circuit Ile Notre Dame in Montreal

May 10 (GMM) Montreal organisers have been warned to spend around $15 million on upgrading and refurbishing the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve or risk losing the Canadian grand prix.

La Presse reports that Bernie Ecclestone has said only a major redevelopment of the circuit will lead to talks about a new contract beyond 2014.

The report said that, in light of the F1 chief executive’s warning, Montreal mayor Gerald Tremblay has appealed to higher levels of government for the necessary money.

“Negotiations are underway between the three levels of government and the bodies of formula one”, the report said.

Race promoter Francois Dumontier told RDS: “It’s premature to talk about this.

“There are still two years to go on the current contract. We have started talking, but that it’s out now I find excessive. Honestly, I don’t know where it’s come from.”

He added: “Given that the permanent installations of the circuit, including the control tower and the garages, are nearly 25 years old, it is likely that their repair is an important element in the negotiations for an extension to the current agreement.

“But it seems to me to be premature to talk specific sums.”