AUGUST 22, 2003
Canada - a solution coming?
The delegation of Canadian politicians was busy in Budapest, trying to sort out how to get Canada back onto the Formula 1 calendar next year. The tobacco-backed teams are unhappy with the Canadians for banning tobacco advertising and it seems that the Federal government in Canada is not going to change the law for Formula 1. There are some possibilities that a provincial law might be passed to get around the national law but this was be a long and complicated business. Getting F1 to accept to run without tobacco branding is another possibility but that will involve the teams needing to be paid to make up for money lost from sponsorship. If Canada does go on to the calendar there will also be 18 races and as the Concorde Agreement allows for only 17 events (and the teams are paid extra for the 17th) there will have to be a substantial payment to help the teams cover the extra costs. We hear that the team bosses have agreed that they will have an 18th race if Bernie Ecclestone pays them $2m each. That means that any extra race would cost Bernie $20m and that is about the figure that Canada is paying him in fees to hold the race. In other words it does not make financial sense for there to be an 18th race. However, if the local government can be convinced to kick in more money the race could go ahead. Montreal is reckoned to make as much as $50m in direct income from the F1 event. If the Canadian authorities are willing to subsidise the event it could therefore go back on the F1 calendar.
The other option would be for another event to drop off the calendar, which would bring the calendar down to 17 events.
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