Investors eye Canadian GP

The future of the troubled Canadian Grand Prix could be secured after a group has confirmed that it is interested in investing in or buying the rights to the Montreal-based event from current promoter Normand Legault

The F1 race was originally dropped from the 2004 schedule because of Canadian anti-tobacco advertising legislation. The race was subsequently reinstated on the calendar, on the condition that the race organisers negotiate compensation to those teams unable to run with tobacco branding. Estimates suggest that this could cost up to £10m, making it likely that Legault would welcome investment in the race.

The group includes George Gillett, the majority owner of the Montreal Canadiens NHL team and founder of the Denver Champ Car World Series race, and Molson Breweries, which organises and promotes the three CART races held in Canada.

"I can't tell you that significant progress has been made," said Gillett. "There's nothing to report. It's still in the process. It was good reporting that found the story, but when it gets reported early, because you've got the government involved, it often puts these discussions in jeopardy.

"There certainly is an interest on the part of a small group of folks to try and save F1 for Montreal. This is a great city. It is passionate about car racing. It's passionate about its sports. That group that is deeply interested loves Montreal as much as the fans do, so there has been an interest in trying to figure out a way to save it."

According to the Montreal La Presse newspaper, which first broke the story, Gillett and Molson want to keep Legault in charge should they buy into the race.

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