Canadian GP bosses hit back at Ecclestone

Canadian Grand Prix officials have hit back at claims that their race has been dropped from next year's calendar because they breached their contract with Formula One bosses

Canadian GP bosses hit back at Ecclestone

Bernie Ecclestone told team principals in Shanghai last weekend that the reason Montreal was thrown off the schedule for 2009 was because race organisers had not paid their fees for the past few years.

The suggestion about a breach of contract intensified after McLaren boss Ron Dennis suggested on Sunday that teams had lost their faith in the race orgainsers.

"I won't give you the exact figure but they did not fulfil their contractual obligations in 2007," explained Dennis. "There was a carry over which was a concession given for 2008, and there was an assurance by the Montreal government that they would stand behind the 2007 figure and the 2008 figure - and that was something confirmed on the Sunday morning of the grand prix.

"But that money, which is north of 20 million dollars, is not forthcoming. When you talk about trust. The trust is, if you have a contract and Montreal has a contract for another two years, we will adhere to the contract they have. But you cannot write a contract and say you come and race and we are only going to pay you half of what the contract says.

"There was a concession made for 2007 and there is a concession made for 2008. When someone lets you down once, you don't race again. And we were assured by the government that the promotional obligations would be honoured and endorsed by the government. Well, they haven't been and, as of late as last week, the government was trying to rectify the situation. Well fine, rectify it, but realise this time around that the trust has gone. Before you want to sit and talk, pay us the money you owe us."

But Canadian GP officials issued a press release late on Sunday night countering Ecclestone's suggestions and insisting that payment terms had been accepted for 2006 and 2007.

Paul Wilson, vice-president of marketing for the Canadian GP, said: "It is totally untrue to suggest that our organisation has defaulted on payments owed for the past three years.

"It is true that we have a commercial disagreement regarding our monetary obligations, but only for 2008. This is the result of an historical difference within the contractual understanding between the two parties.

"We were working hard to resolve the matter in order to meet our 2008 obligations when Mr. Ecclestone, without notice, surprised everyone by unilaterally dropping the Canadian Grand Prix from the 2009 FIA schedule on October 7.

"We believe that it is important to shed the light on this matter and to clarify any allegations that could tarnish the reputation of our organisation. We do not accept that the integrity of the Grand Prix du Canada should be called into question, when it is evident that the table is being set for new negotiations with different levels of the Canadian government."

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