Montreal close to new long term F1 deal says Ecclestone

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 IMAGEJun.13 (GMM) Montreal is on the verge of securing a new long term contract to host the Canadian Grand Prix until at least 2024, the Quebec newspaper La Presse reports.

It had already emerged that Bernie Ecclestone met with race and government officials at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve last weekend.

F1 chief executive Ecclestone confirmed that the new deal for 2014 and beyond is almost complete, with only a few details left to resolve.

“The annual fee is done,” the 81-year-old said. “That’s not a problem. “All they need is the ok for the building [work]”

La Presse said that Briton Ecclestone expects the Montreal organisers to spend $20 million on upgrading the ageing pit and paddock complexes, and resurface the track within five years.

“We don’t need it to look like Abu Dhabi, we just want an upgrade,” he insisted. “We want a facelift. If they do here what they’ve done at Silverstone, that would be good. Canada is important to us.”

Montreal’s new race deal will mean there will be three grands prix in North America, with Austin and New York joining the calendar.

“We have ten races in Europe so I don’t see why we can’t have three in North America,” Ecclestone argued. However, he expressed disappointment with the controversy that surrounded this year’s running in Canada.

“I think it was all a bit misplaced,” said Ecclestone. “[The cost of student] tuition here is the lowest in Canada, and certainly cheaper than in most other places in the world.”

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