Canadian GP cancelled – What is behind this FIA decision ?

Will F1 return to Quebec ?

Will F1 return to Quebec ?

The decision by WMSC and FIA to omit the Canadian GP from 2009 Formula 1 calendar (without any explanation) caught me by suprise yesterday. Actually surprise is not strong enough word. I was truly shocked. I may be a bit biased here thanks to my visit to the Canadian GP this year. But the reason I decided to travel half way around the world to see that race was the fact that it simply has been one of the best races on the calendar for years. Now it looks like I may have witnessed the last one. Well, I am shocked but reading what others have to say be it on this site or on F1Wolf Club or anywhere else on the web it looks like I am not the only one whom FIA managed to shock.

What ads to the mystery of this sudden decision is the fact that even the organizers of the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal had no idea their race is in any sort of danger. The race was included in the provisional 2009 F1 calendar and unlike last year here was no “to be confirmed” tag attached to it. The official Candaian GP website at this moment bears no signs of any doubt about 2009 race. They are thanking fans for making 2008 race a success and even have a section devoted to 2009 ticket sales. The stunned organizers issued a press release yesterday:

MONTREAL, Oct. 7 /CNW Telbec/ – The executives of the Grand Prix of Canada have learned via the media of the omission of the Grand Prix of Canada from the F1 Championship 2009 calendar. Therefore, the organization will issue no comment until having spoken to Formula One Management (FOM) and the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA).

Canadian GP has not seemed to be any danger. The hottest debates this year were about future of Australian GP (but that has been sorted out when Bernie signed new contract with Melbourne few months ago) and Silverstone (to be replaced by Donington Park from 2010). And of course there is the never ending “will it or will it not return” debate about Magny Cours. No one ever mentioned Canada. The problem for Canada is no one mentioned it also when it mattered – when the venues for 2009 season were announced. So what could be behind this seemingly sudden decision ?

1) First thing that came to my mind was that this may have to do something with the crumbling race surface that affected the qualifying this year and even put the actual race in jeopardy. If FIA came out and said that after discussions with the organizers they came to a conclusion that a wast renovation of the track will be needed therefore next year’s must be skipped, I would accpet this as a valid reason. But no one from FIA talked to organizers so this does not seem to be the case …

2) Second thought was that this may have something to do with the safety standards of the Canadian track perhaps following the massive Robert Kubica’s shunt in 2007. But again, if there were safety issues to be taken care of, one would expect at least some sort of ultimatum “fix it or else”. This did not seem to have happened …

3) The next though went to Bernie Ecclestone and his possible hard ball negotiating tactics. But wait … Canadian GP was said to have an agreement with Bernie till 2011. The suprised reaction from organizers also suggests that there were no negotiations going on. And wait again … There was no annoucement from Bernie about failing to reach new commercial agreement with the Montreal guys. All we got was a new calendar published by FIA (not FOM) with Canada missing.

4) So can this simply be the next stage of Bernie versus Max power game ? These two haven’t been the best of friends since the distrubing Mosleygate. Since then FIA and Mosley managed to create (or at least announce) Formula 2 series that is to compete with Bernie run GP2 series. It did not take long for Ecclestone to come with idea of his own – announcing GP3 series. Can this Canadian GP omission from 2009 Formula 1 calendar be simply an attempt to create some tough time for Mr. Ecclesstone by ditching one of the most popular races on the calendar, the race that is well attended and popular with locals and last but not least the race that seldom fails to offer some exciting race ? Because after some thinking about how this all came about one wonders if Bernie Ecclesstone had any idea that he will be presented with a race calendar without Canadian GP … Something stinks here …

5) OK, forget the conspiracy theory (although I would not say it is unlikely scenario) and try to come back to looking for some sound reasons for dropping the Canadian GP – the money. As there apparently was no new contract negotiation involved in staging the race in Montreal next year the money issues, if any. would have to come from somewhere else. Can it be that the race in Canada without another North American race in the US is no longer feasible for the teams ? It is said that all the logistical expenses involved in moving the whole F1 circus from Europe to North America were shared by both US and Canadian GP. With no US GP at the moment this is impossible. But again, no one seems to have mentioned anything like this being a problem big enough to prevent F1 to travel to Canada …

6) What else is the difference between the first provisional 2009 calendar and the one published yesterday ? The summer break ! With Canada included there was none, without Canada there is one between Hungarian and European races. The teams were said to have been fighting for the summer break to stay but I seriously doubt that this alone would be the reason to ditch such a popular race …

7) Or can this all be simply a clerical error ? The record keeper from the meeting forgetting to include Canadian GP into the 2009 calendar and we can expect corrected version sometime today ? Wishful thinking I am afraid …

What are the chances we will see Canadian GP next year ? Hard to say unless we know the reasons why it is not there in the first place. Is there a slot available for it ? Of course it must be. It was on the calendar 3 months ago, it can be there again ! Turkish GP has been rescheduled for the weekend originally planned for the Canadian GP. There however is 3 weeks break between Bahrain and Spanish GP that would allow for some shifting if the powers in charge change their mind and decide to backtrack on this very stupid decision that angered so many people.

n

{democracy:33}

Let’s see what (if anything) will both Mosley and Ecclesstone have to say about this in days to come.

6 Comments Post a Comment
  1. [...] Canadian GP cancelled – What is behind this FIA decision ? – F1 WolfF1 Wolf gathers some theories as to why the Canadian GP has been removed from the calendar [...]

  2. StewNo Gravatar says:

    I again have been scouring the French language news and papers and have found nothing new. Organizers seem to still be stumped and the fans completely confused.

    When are we going to hear something. The silence and surprise are very suspicious.

    By the way, you touched on just about everything in this post and I kind of hope it is the clerical error :)

    Stews last blog post..BMW Sauber Hold on to Kubica and Heidfeld for 2009

  3. [...] the Canadian GP from 2009 F1 calendar was the most shocking outcome of the WMSC meeting this week. But no less controversial are the decisions taken on the future of Formula 1 engines. [...]

  4. DSF2No Gravatar says:

    http://www.wheels.ca/reviews/article/413204

    It seems that there will be a Press Release tomorrow …

  5. BenNo Gravatar says:

    I hope for the clergical error too. I would be very disappointed to see the Canadian race removed and with a few other decisions that I feel go against the sport my interest in it would greatly decrease if this trend continues and the fans seems to be so unimportant to the organizers or FIA that they opinions doesn’t matter and that they are not even given a sound explanation for why one of the best races in the F1 calender would be cancelled.

  6. F1WolfNo Gravatar says:

    unfortunatelly the it was not an error, the Canadian GP is gone …

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