There is 'not enough time' to secure the future of the Canadian Grand Prix for 2009, it has been warned, but race organisers have insisted they 'will do everything possible to save it' in the long-term.

It was announced last week that the race around Montreal's historic and popular Circuit Gilles Villeneuve had been axed due a contractual dispute, understood to be based on outstanding debts owed by promoter Grand Prix du Canada to commercial rights-holder Bernie Ecclestone's Formula One Management Company.

The move has been received with widespread sadness in the F1 paddock, with manufacturers in particular concerned that the absence of both Montreal and Indianapolis means there will be no North American event on the calendar next year for the first time in more than half a century.

Frantic rescue efforts are being made behind the scenes by both teams - in the guise of FOTA, the Formula One Teams' Association - and various levels of Canadian government, but Nick Fry suggests a rescue deal is far from imminent.

"I do not think we will be able to save the 2009 race," Honda's CEO told French-language newspaper La Presse. "There is not enough time.

"On the other hand we must find a solution for 2010 and the years beyond. Within FOTA, we must make it a top priority to have at least two North American races on the calendar."

Those sentiments are echoed by the opposition Vision Montreal leader Benoit Labont?, who suggested shelling out $20 million in public funds - even if the line must be drawn 'at a certain point' - in order to keep the race would reap ample dividends, with the grand prix bringing in a reputed $75 million to the city each year.

"[The race] is in my borough," Labont? told local newspaper the Montreal Gazette. "Ask the bar owners downtown how much is enough [to keep the grand prix in Montreal], and they'd give you a much higher figure.

"The objective reality of this event is that annually it brings $75 million of foreign money to the city - money that would not be spent in Montreal if this event doesn't occur. That's the first basis for calculations."

Labont? added that even if politicians prove successful in getting the race re-instated, it is 'probably not the last time' the plug will be pulled on the event over Ecclestone's financial demands. It was previously dropped back in 2003 due to tobacco publicity laws, but the race ultimately went ahead without cigarette advertising, following three months of discussions at the end of which $12 million of federal and provincial tax money was paid to FOM to compensate for lost revenue.

"Right now I still think there's plenty of room to manoeuvre if we put more money [into the grand prix]," Labont? continued. "The question we have to ask ourselves is what kind of city we want to be. Do we want to be an international city competing with the other great cities of this world?

"The city of Montreal, the government of Qu?bec, as well as the government of Canada, should get together to make sure we can put together an offer."

Canadian premier Jean Charest has insisted that taxpayers must see economic benefits from any government intervention, whilst Montreal mayor Gerald Tremblay, provincial economic development minister Raymond Bachand and Michael Fortier, federal minister responsible for Montreal, were due to meet with Ecclestone this week to discuss a possible Canadian Grand Prix return. Tremblay has admitted that he is exploring a number of possible avenues by which to save the event.

"We understand that there is a contractual difference between Grand Prix du Canada and Bernie Ecclestone, somewhere in the region of $10 million and $20 million," he is quoted as having said by Pitpass.

"We must better understand the economic, the legal and the administration considerations before we make a decision that will be financially responsible. However, we will do everything possible to save it."

Meanwhile, Paul Wilson, marketing vice-president of Grand Prix du Canada - whose president and CEO Normand Legault has made it clear he no longer wishes to be involved in the promotion of the race - has confessed in an interview with CBC News that the company is almost $30 million in debt.

He added that in light of Ecclestone's monetary exigencies, in order to make a profit ticket prices would need to double in 2009 - at least. In a climate in which venues such as Singapore and Bahrain are reputedly willing and able to pay respectively $40m and $28 million for the privilege of welcoming F1, a non-government supported race like Montreal is always going to struggle.

"We're not going to do the grand prix if we lose money," Wilson revealed. "It's a business. Mr Legault is a businessman and, like any other businessman, if at any point one of your enterprises is not making any profits then you have to look somewhere else to make money.

"Amongst the 18 grands prix across the world, 17 of them are owned and operated partially or totally by governments."