Jun.13 (GMM) Montreal mayor Denis Coderre says the city will move to secure the future of the Canadian grand prix.
At the weekend, F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone cast doubt on the future of the popular race by suggesting Montreal had failed to fulfil its pledge to update the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve’s ageing facilities.
“We’ll see,” the 85-year-old told reporters, when asked if Canada will therefore be left off the sport’s 2017 calendar.
Mayor Coderre has now responded, saying he has met up with Ecclestone to seek “clarification”.
“We are talking about an investment of several million in public funds and it was important to get it right,” he told the Quebec newspaper La Presse.
“I met with Mr Ecclestone several times recently and had a meeting yesterday with the president of the executive committee to settle the details,” he added.
However, Coderre said he was not sure if Montreal could complete the required work in time for the 2017 or even 2018 Canadian grands prix.
“This is a complex process,” he explained. “We have a date in mind, but I prefer not to talk for now. Mr Ecclestone is aware and does not compromise in any way the contract that we have with him.”
Coderre continued: “We know Mr Ecclestone. He has his way of negotiating, but everyone wants to keep the grand prix in Montreal.
“That is why we want to ensure that the replacement of the installations is done right.”
Coderre also did not want to comment on Ecclestone’s hints of conflict with the current promoter, Francois Dumontier.
“It is up to them to sort it out,” he insisted. “For me, Mr Dumontier is an outstanding organiser, but the management and promotion of the grand prix is not up to me.”
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