Ecclestone confirms Canadian GP axe

Bernie Ecclestone has finally confirmed that the Canadian Grand Prix has been axed from the Formula 1 schedule for 2004 because of new Canadian anti-tobacco legislation

Ecclestone confirms Canadian GP axe

Race promoter Norman Legault announced last week that the Montreal-based race had been dropped from next year's calendar, although this was initially denied by F1 impresario Ecclestone. But a statement released by his company, Formula One Management, now confirms the fate of the race.

"I can confirm 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 1 Championship would not be included in the 2004 calender," read the statement.

"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 F1 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 Belgian 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 1."

Belgium has been reinstated on the F1 calendar for 2004 after the government agreed to pass an exemption on its tobacco advertising ban. The Canadian government recently gave its support to plans to save its race, although Prime Minister Jean Chretien insisted that it would not back down over its new anti-tobacco laws.

A coalition including Legault, representatives of local government and tourism officials met on Wednesday to launch a bid to convince F1 teams and manufacturers to support the Montreal race. Legault is due to fly to the Hungarian GP in a bid to garner the support of team bosses.

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Canadian GP Officially Off the 2004 Calendar

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