Montreal to Replace Abu Dhabi in 2009?

Montreal might make its way back into the Formula 1 calendar from as early as this year. The Canadian Grand Prix was axed from the F1 schedule earlier this year, but it now seems that Bernie Ecclestone is ready to change his mind about discontinuing the series in the North American continent.

Montreal mayor Gerald Tremblay revealed this past weekend that he has been in talks with Ecclestone for resuming the F1 action at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in 2010 and 2011. According to several media reports, however, it is believed Canada can still make the F1 calendar this year, while replacing behind-schedule Abu Dhabi.

Last week, the Abu Dhabi officials revealed they are late in setting up the 2009 Grand Prix – scheduled November 1st – due to the economic crisis. Nevertheless, Tremblay argued that the Montreal officials are not looking for a one-off, but for a long term commitment with Formula 1. He insisted the Canadian circuit is ready to host an F1 event this year, but only on the condition they will keep doing it for the upcoming seasons also.

“We have been talking with Bernie Ecclestone about it coming back in 2011 and 2010. We don't want to have it just in 2009. We want a long term agreement that respects our ability to pay. We have a lot of good people who have organised the races for many years,” said Tremblay in an interview for the Montreal Gazette.

Ecclestone decided not to include Canada on the 2009 calendar earlier this year over a dispute about race fees with the F1 event promoter. However, with a newly all-American outfit ready to make its debut in the series in 2010 – US Grand Prix Engineering – the North American continent looked attractive all of a sudden.

Also, due to their economic interest in the North American market, most F1 manufacturers have urged Ecclestone to restore at least one GP in the aforementioned continent. The F1 supremo admitted he is already considering a circuit cu host the American Grand Prix in the near future, only ruled out Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
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