Canadian GP Officially Off the 2004 Calendar

Formula One commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone has officially confirmed on Thursday that the Canadian Formula One Grand Prix will not take place in 2004.

Canadian GP Officially Off the 2004 Calendar

Formula One commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone has officially confirmed on Thursday that the Canadian Formula One Grand Prix will not take place in 2004.

This is the first time the Formula One Management Company officially confirmed information from Canadian Grand Prix officials that the event would not take place next year.

"There have been a number of stories and quotes attributed to me in the past few days concerning the Canadian Grand Prix," Ecclestone said in a statement to the media. "These must be disregarded as I have not made any statements to the media except to confirm that the 2004 FIA Formula One World Championship calendar has not yet been decided.

"I can confirm though that a letter was written to the Canadian race promoter following a meeting I had with him when I informed him the Canadian round of the FIA Formula One World Championship would not be included in the 2004 calendar.

"The reason for this is that the Canadian government has brought into effect a total prohibition on tobacco-related sponsorship. There is a provision in our contract with the race promoter that should this become effective, we have the right not to include their event in the calendar for the relevant year.

"Our problem is quite simple. The Formula One teams with tobacco-related sponsorship lose part of their revenue when a certain percentage of the events ban tobacco sponsorship. This was the reason the Belgium Grand Prix was not included in the 2003 calendar.

"One thing is for sure: everyone is sorry to lose the Canadian race as we all love Montreal and the warm support the city has always given Formula One."

Canada had held a Formula One race since 1967 and Montreal has hosted the race since 1978 on a circuit named after the late Gilles Villeneuve, father of 1997 World Champion and hometown favourite Jacques Villeneuve.

The event, one of the city's biggest tourist attractions with an estimated windfall of more than $35 million (USD), packs over 100,000 fans around the circuit and is one of the few races to draw sell-out crowds.

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