The Canadian Grand Prix will return next season, the organisers of the event confirmed today.
The event, which had been a regular fixture on the F1 schedule since 1978, with the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal staging a race every year except 1987 - when sponsorship problems forced its absence – was dropped in 2009 due to a 'commercial dispute' between the Grand Prix F1 du Canada Inc. and Formula One Administration.
That dispute though, has now been settled, paving the way for its return in 2010, when F1 will return to North America.
"I am very happy, and fully satisfied, with this outcome," said Normand Legault, president and CEO of Grand Prix F1 du Canada Inc. "I have always been confident of being able to resolve the dispute.
"I am especially pleased that an announcement is forthcoming to the effect that the Canadian Grand Prix will be back on the FIA calendar as of 2010. I never doubted that the Canadian race would regain its rightful place on the FIA schedule, and my discussions with F1 management led me to believe that the event would return soon. The race is important not only for F1, but also for the teams, manufacturers and sponsors.
"I am also happy for the Canadian Grand's Prix many fans, because they are true F1 enthusiasts who appreciate the real value of the spectacle and the competition."
However despite the resolution, Legault added that his involvement as local promoter would still cease.
"As to the question of whether I will remain involved as local promoter, I had already announced last fall that I no longer wished to fill that role, in view of the economic model currently prevailing in F1, which has now made it impossible to put on an event like this strictly with private investors, and no government assistance," he continued.
"I explained last fall that I did not wish to ask the governments for support in order to meet FOA's financial requirements, and so it became unthinkable for me to continue to act as promoter.
"I believe, however, that considering its value for our local economy, it is important that the event returns, and I wish every success to those who decide to take over the work that I have done over the years.
"I am very proud of how far the Canadian Grand Prix has come since it was first run on the Île Notre-Dame circuit more than 30 years ago, when I initially became involved in organising it. Our efforts in the early 1990s to take the Grand Prix beyond the boundaries of Île Notre-Dame have transformed it from a mere auto race into a mass-appeal event that is an indispensable part of Montreal's summer festivities, with spin-offs that benefit the entire downtown area and other neighbourhoods, such as Little Italy.
"One need only look at some races held abroad to see that it takes more than an automobile race to create a bona fide event, with an international reputation that can attract tourists from the four corners of the globe.
"I am especially proud of the fact that, over the past 12 years with Grand Prix F1 du Canada Inc. as race promoter, our team has managed to run the show single-handedly, through thick and thin.
"We owe our success in large part to the sponsors who never stopped believing in us and backing us, to our loyal fans, whom I thank most heartily for their steadfast support, and, lastly, to our many volunteers, who have devoted so much time and effort to organising the race."