Formula 1's six manufacturers have been called upon to intervene to rescue the Canadian Grand Prix, seemingly definitively struck off the 2009 calendar after the country's politicians refused to bow to Bernie Ecclestone's 'unreasonable' financial demands [see separate story – click here
The only hope now remaining for the popular event – held around Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on the Île Notre-Dame every year bar one since 1978 – to be re-instated next season is for the car companies to step in, argues the president of one of the city's merchants' associations, Alain Creton.
The Montreal restaurateur has written a letter to all ten F1 teams suggesting that should Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Renault, Toyota and Honda allocate just $3 million each from their marketing budgets to the race organisation, the Canadian Grand Prix could yet be saved.
“For these people, North America is an enormous market,” Creton is quoted as having said by F1SA
, echoing the declarations made by BMW Motorsport President Dr Mario Theissen and Honda CEO Nick Fry, both of whom have expressed their sincere displeasure and dismay that for the first time in more than half a century there will be no North American outing on the F1 schedule.
“It is a little disturbing that not one of the manufacturers have expressed their support for the grand prix when so many of their sales are done here.
“When they buy a Honda, for example, Montrealers should wonder why Honda does not offer all the necessary support to the grand prix.”
The Montreal hotel association had also pledged to add a one per cent 'grand prix' tax to the standard rate of all rooms in the city – taking the rate from three per cent to four per cent – and had promised to donate all the extra money raised to the organisation of the race.