JUNE 4, 2012
Montreal cancels open GP Thursday
The traditional 'Open Doors' Thursday, when fans have free access to the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve to watch the F1 teams set up, has been cancelled for this year's race.
There are fears over threats to disrupt the race from demonstrators objecting to raised student tuition fees. Over the weekend the Quebec government ended talks with student leaders aimed at quelling disturbances dating back months, which have seen almost 2500 arrests.
Circuit Gilles Villeneuve issued the following statement: "Following a serious examination of the situation, made necessary by public disruption threats and the difficulty to measure their precise validity, the organisers came to the conclusion that it is necessary to restrain access to the circuit and, precisely, the F1 pit lane preceding the first sessions on-track."
Promoter Francois Dumontier commented: "Were not exactly happy, being fully aware that this activity is an important part of the appeal and the tradition of true friendliness at our event.
"But, considering the disruption threats made public recently, the 'Open Doors' day revealed some risks that we could not neglect. Under the circumstances, cancelling it was the only action we could take."
Student groups have said that the grand prix and its attendant downtown promotional events will be targeted to get their message across.