Formula 1 are not commenting on credible reports claiming the 2021 Canadian Grand Prix, scheduled for June, won’t happen at all this year while local health officials are also downplaying the suggestions, simply adding to the confusion.
When approached for comment by GP247, an F1 spokesperson replied: “We are continuing our discussions with the promoter in Canada and have no further comment.”
Meanwhile, the Associated Press report that the Canadian Grand Prix remains on the schedule for the 2021 World Championship season but reports are that the race is all but cancelled as Montreal health officials fear the potential spread of COVID-19 when the Formula 1 circus hits town.
Addressing reports that the race would not happen, as it has traditionally at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Mayor of Montreal Valerie Plante told media on Thursday the coronavirus concerns do not mean the 11-13 June race is cancelled for a second year in a row.
“The fact is that Montreal public health issued a notice opposing the holding of the Grand Prix, even behind closed doors,” Plante told Canadian Press. “What we want is for public health departments to communicate together before we make anything official. It’s the least we can do, out of respect for the various partners.
“In the end, whatever the decision, and if it turns out that the Grand Prix is not coming back to Montreal this year, we will work to ensure the Grand Prix continues to take place in Montreal.”
Annie Dufour, a spokeswoman for Montreal public health, said the agency was in no position to authorize the cancellation of the race: “We’re not the ones taking the decision.
““We can simply give recommendations and revaluate levels of risk. Obviously, given the fragile epidemiological state in Montreal, we shared our hesitation over the holding of the event.”
The Canadian Grand Prix also was cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic. Octane Management, which is is responsible for organizing Montreal’s F1 event, declined to comment.
Quebec Minister of the Economy and Innovation Pierre Fitzgibbon said partners involved are trying to minimize the consequences associated with any cancellation.
“What I can tell you is that, indeed, the Quebec government wants to keep the Canadian Grand Prix from 2022 to 2029,” he said. “The economic benefits are important for Quebec.”
He also addressed whether a cancellation would entail a breach of contract with F1.
“It’s a contract. There’s an agreement between the European authorities and the Canadian Grand Prix that’s valid until 2029. So if the Grand Prix does not take place this year, it will be because of a force majeure. We’re living a very special situation, and health takes precedence over the economy,” explained Fitzgibbon.
Montreal has hosted F1 since 1978 when Canada’s favourite driver Gilles Villeneuve powered his Ferrari to a famous victory on home soil. 2019 was the 40th running of the Grand Prix on Ile Notre Dame, won by Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.