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Montreal's mayor responds to reports about F1 race returning

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The Canadian Press
3/29/2009 3:19:36 PM
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MONTREAL - Provincial and municipal politicians say they want the Canadian Grand Prix back on the Formula One roster -- but only if it's for the long haul.

Montreal Mayor Gerald Tremblay, responding to media reports Sunday that Montreal may be called upon to replace the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix scheduled for next November, says he's heard nothing official about the possible return of F1 racing to the city in November.

"We haven't been informed of that possibility or even been asked by the Formula One people to hold that race," he said.

But Tremblay says he's open to the idea if it's part of a long-term deal between the city and F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone.

"If they want to come back in 2009 because there's a circuit that's not ready, yes, we're open to discussions," he said.

"(But) one thing has to be clear. We're not going to do it if we only have the race for 2009."

Quebec Premier Jean Charest says he hasn't been approached by Grand Prix organizers but said it's something he'd consider.

"We're always open to a discussion (with F1 officials)," he said. "But not under any conditions. It has to make financial sense, just like last time."

The Canadian Grand Prix was dropped from the F1's 2009 calendar last October when the financial demands by Ecclestone proved too steep for the three levels of government fighting to keep the event in Montreal.

The construction of the $400-million F1 circuit being built in Abu Dhabi has fallen behind schedule, compromising the event and possibly creating a hole in the F1 calendar.

The Abu Dhabi GP is the last race of the 2009 F1 season, scheduled for Oct. 30 to Nov. 1.

The mayor also didn't rule out the possibility that the Canadian Grand Prix could be back on the roster within a few years.

"We still have discussions with Formula One about them coming back to Montreal as soon as possible," he said.

"We're looking at 2010, or at the latest 2011."

The Turkish Grand Prix was moved into Montreal's June 5-7 dates.

Montreal replaced the annual summer event with a NASCAR race scheduled for late August.

Rumours that Montreal may win back its race began circulating at the Australian kick-off of the F1 season in Melbourne this weekend.

Circuit Gilles Villeneuve (Photo: Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
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