MARCH 12, 2021
Too early for Canada GP green light says promoter
It is "too early" to be totally confident that June's Canadian GP will take place as scheduled.
That is the admission of Montreal race promoter Francois Dumontier, after local government officials made alarming pronouncements about major events in the city.
On Thursday, Montreal mayor Valerie Plante told the local broadcaster Le Canal Nouvelles that she would not rule out a postponement of the F1 race.
And Montreal's public health director Dr Mylene Drouin admitted she is "unlikely to consider, at this stage, a crowded place of festivities".
F1 race promoter Dumontier, however, is putting on a courageous face, declaring that the situation with the 2021 calendar currently "bodes well, despite the postponement of the first race" in Melbourne.
"When we look at the situation in the countries concerned, with vaccination progressing well, we really start to see the end of the tunnel," he told La Presse.
"The tunnel may still be long, but it's still encouraging and reassuring."
As for the more nervous local officials, Dumontier said he is "in constant communication with the two levels of government".
"We are monitoring the situation very closely with the other sports organisations. We are moving in the right direction, with the increase in vaccination and the number of vaccines available," he added.
However, Dumontier admits it is "still too early" to be 100 percent sure that Montreal's June 13 race date will go ahead.
"Several scenarios remain possible and yes, it could still be a little early in June. But we still have a few weeks ahead of us and we have to start organising some things so we don't get caught off guard if we get the green light," he said.
Dumontier admitted that postponement to a later date this year is one of those scenarios.
"We cannot rule anything out for the moment, but we are currently focusing on the month of June. That is scenario number 1," he said.
He said another big issue at present is that the Canadian federal government is enforcing quarantines for international travellers - the detail that meant Melbourne could not go ahead this month.
"As we speak, a quarantine would be imposed on the teams and we would have to see how we could do it with another event on the previous weekend," said Dumontier, referring to the Azerbaijan GP.
"Technically, the bubble surrounding the teams will still be in place, but it's very difficult to assess all of that.
"Without wanting to denigrate anyone, the grand prix is a big organisation. We have to think about all the implications of such an event in the current situation."