Canadian stars decry possible GP loss

News of the possible cancellation of the Canadian Grand Prix was not received with enthusiasm by the three Canadian drivers competing in the CART Champ Car series

Canadian stars decry possible GP loss

Officials of the Montreal based race announced this week that new Canadian anti-tobacco advertising regulations had led to the race being dropped from the 2004, although Bernie Ecclestone has said that no such decision had yet been made.

"I think it's pretty sad for the fans because Canadian fans love motorsport," remarked Alex Tagliani. "All over Canada people were coming to see Formula 1 once a year. But it's also sad for the promoters because they were doing a fantastic job at that race. From people's comments, it was one of the best organized race in Formula 1. I'm sure losing the race, not as their fault, is probably very disappointing for them. But I guess Bernie Ecclestone has to decide what's best for his series."

The cancellation of the Canadian GP is the second major blow dealt to motorsport in the country by the new legislation. The front-running Forsythe Champ Car team, which has launched the career of several Canadian racing drivers including Jacques Villeneuve, is set to lose its lucrative Player's cigarette sponsorship as of October 1.

"It shows that the legislation is hurting motor racing all over the world," remarked Paul Tracy. "People like to say CART is getting hurt, but everything is getting affected right now. The Canadian GP has been around for a very long time, not only at that track, but at Mont-Tremblant and Mosport. It's just part of Formula 1 and I would have to say you could put Montreal in the same hat as Monaco or Silverstone as one of the crowns of their championship."

"I just think everything that is happening makes it more difficult for the kids who want to come up from Canada - no Grand Prix, one less race for them to sell to sponsorship to come racing," added Tracy's Forsythe Racing teammate, Patrick Carpentier.

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