The future of the Canadian GP

NORMAN LEGAULT, managing-director of Grand Prix Players du Canada, and F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone last weekend had a meeting with Jean Pelletier, the chief of staff of Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien to discuss the future of the Grand Prix in relation to the new anti-tobacco legislation known as Law C-71. This received Royal Assent in April but does not come into effect until October 1998.

"If the Canadian government decides to ban tobacco companies from advertising on the cars," Ecclestone told Canadian pressmen, "there is a clause which enables us to cancel the contract and move the Grand Prix elsewhere. You know there are many cities interested in holding a Grand Prix than we can include in the calendar."

Pelletier indicated that the government may be willing to compromise and allow the cars, the drivers and the team personnel to carry tobacco branding. The problem is that it may lead to calls for similar exceptions to be made in other areas of tobacco sponsorship.

Research published by the Greater Montreal Convention and Tourism Bureau last week showed that the Grand Prix brings in more money than all the other major events in Montreal combined with an estimated $50m over the weekend.

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