How the Canadian GP was saved
Legault explains the situation in a press conference [19/11/03]



The Canadian Grand Prix has been saved after a brewer agreed to help make up the lost revenue from a local ban on tobacco sponsorship.The deal announced on Tuesday by race promoter Normand Legault will see 29 million Canadian dollars (22 million US) paid to Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone in compensation for the lost cigarette sponsorship.The contribution from Legault himself, the Labatt brewer and other sponsors will raise 17 million Canadian dollars with the Canadian and Quebec governments each chipping in six million Canadian dollars."We still have work to do but this support gives us a lot of encouragement. We're confident we'll be able to raise that money," said Legault. "We are happy to have reached such a conclusion when, in August, we estimated our chances to have Formula One with us again to be rather slim."Legault said that the payment of 17 million Canadian dollars assured the future of the race for at least the next three years and he predicted the Grand Prix would be on the Formula One calendar "for years to come."


Ecclestone had agreed to lower his original demand of 42 million Canadian dollars, Legault said. "He accepted to participate himself in the financial package. But only he knows how much he will pay to the teams," Legault said. "He had a genuine desire to keep Montreal on the calendar." In a statement on Tuesday, Ecclestone said: "We eagerly await this event, which is among the most treasured in the championship." The McLaren, Ferrari and Renault teams receive a major part of their sponsorship from tobacco advertising. The Canadian Grand Prix has been pencilled in for June 13 in the 18-race schedule for the 2004 season. Canada first hosted a Grand Prix in 1967 and the Gilles Villeneuve circuit in Montreal has been its home since 1978.