JUNE 13, 2005
Montreal popular and unpopular
The Formula 1 Media is generally a fairly docile group of people but at the weekend the press finally took exception to the facilities on offer in Montreal and sent a petition to the FIA, FOM and the Montreal city authorities asking for action to be taken to improve the facilities on the Ile de Notre Dame.
There are a number of serious problems with the race track, which is now well out of step with the other F1 circuits when it comes to facilities on offer. The press room itself is tiny with journalists working cheek-by-jowl. This year things were made considerably worse by the fact that the organisers had not considered the possibility of hot weather and had only nominal air-conditioning throughout the race weekend. This made for a very sweaty and rather irritated group of journalists and the apparent ambivalence to the predicament did not help.
There were also serious questions about the communications available from the Media Centre, access to wireless Internet costing an indecent $160 per person for the weekend and traffic flow (a perennial problem) being as bad as ever because at one point crowds flooding to the track from the Metro system must cross the road access, causing jams of which even Silverstone would be proud.
Despite all of this Montreal remains a very popular venue because of the lively city and good racing on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve but the gloss of the race has been dulled in recent years by rampant increases in hotel prices and by the poor facilities at the track.
For the F1 Media, at least, enough is enough. It is time that action was taken.
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