Officials Optimistic About Canada Return

Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is still in pole position for returning to the F1 calendar in 2009. Following a meeting in London between Formula One supreme Bernie Ecclestone and Montreal mayor Gerald Tremblay (Canadian federal minister of international trade Michael Fortier and a local Quebec minister were also present), the Canadian official is very positive about his city's chances to host an F1 event next year.

“We've had a constructive meeting. We have a better understanding of the issues, we still have a lot of work to do to evaluate all the options, but it is still possible to hold a Grand Prix in Montreal in 2009 and subsequent years,” said Tremblay.

According to local media, the main reason why Bernie decided to axe the Canadian Grand Prix from the Great Circle was the increasing debts of event's organizers to FOM (approximately $10 million). The Canadia government is believed to step in and rescue the F1 race should it benefit Canada economically (reports from the Montreal Gazette).

“Many people have offered to help but they are all part of the elements we would need to evaluate in the coming days to determine if the Grand Prix will survive and who will be the promoter and organizer,” admitted Fortier after his Tuesday meeting with Bernie. Should the Englishman decide to forgive and forget, the Canadian race is expected to be ran at the same Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and replace the 2009-defunct French Grand Prix.

Missing out on France in 2009 has become official last week, when the French FFSA announced that they're pulling their financial support on Magny Cours for the upcoming years. With Bernie lobbying for a street race in France for some time now, it's possible that France will return in 2010 with a street course in or around capital Paris. For the time being, the only viable project for hosting an F1 event in France – while also benefiting from support by former F1 champ Alain Prost – is a race at Disneyland.

With a date still available on the 2009 calendar – as it is now comprises only 17 events – and the summer brake still to become intact, Canada might continue playing an F1 host for at least one more season. A final decision on the 2009 calendar will be made and announced shortly after the Brazilian Grand Prix next weekend.
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