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Ecclestone hails return of sell-out Canadian GP

12 June 2010

F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone has said he is delighted to see Canada back on the schedule – and that the event should never have dropped off.

Montreal has been a fixture on the F1 calendar since 1978, with the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve staging a race every year, except 1987 - when sponsorship problems forced its absence – and in 2009 when a dispute between Ecclestone and then promoter Normand Legault saw it dropped.

Speaking on Friday, Ecclestone told espnf1.com: "It is wonderful to be back in Montreal, and to be honest, we shouldn't have left in the first place!"

"We felt sorry (to leave), but at the end of the day, as an organiser, you have to pay the price," added Mercedes boss Norbert Haug.

Organisers meanwhile confirmed that the event was a sell-out earlier this week, with the box office officially closing at 3pm [local time] on Thursday.

"We are of course very pleased with the public response," said François Dumontier, president of the Canadian Grand Prix and of Octane Racing Group and promoter of the event. "Local fans, obviously proud of their Grand Prix, were quick to respond when we announced ticket sales last December, and we soon realised that they were not going to stay away from something they appreciate.

"Then, over the course of the following months, we received huge fan response from abroad, which pleasantly surprised us. Our ticket sales in Europe were exceptional, and this is a testimony to the appeal of our event in traditional F1 markets.

"There are thousands of connoisseurs who have for years watched the Canadian Grand Prix broadcast from Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, and were now ready to cross the ocean to witness a F1 Grand Prix, Montréal style. We are going to welcome them, as we do with all other fans, with warmth and enthusiasm. And I invite Montrealers to do the same."

Tickets for next year's Canadian Grand Prix went on sale on Friday, and they will be obtainable at the same 2010 price, which incidentally was the same as in 2008, until July 31.


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