Canadian GP in doubt as F1 asks government for additional $6m

Formula 1 has reportedly requested from local Canadian governments an additional $6m payment to cover the Canadian GP promoter's costs of staging next June's race behind closed gates.

The Canadian GP was canceled last year due to COVID-19, and the country's current restrictions are likely to keep fans away from the seventh round of the 2021 F1 world championship which is scheduled to take place in Montreal on June 11-13.

With Canada expected to continue enforcing COVID restriction in the coming months, F1 is willing to race in front of empty grandstands at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, but only if the three local governments that subsidize the event disburse an additional $6m that will serve as compensation for Canadian GP promoter Octane.

According to La Presse, F1 commercial rights holder Liberty Media is seeking a response on the race's financial montage from the Ottawa, Quebec and Montreal governments by April 12, or this Monday.

Earlier this week, Montreal mayor Valérie Plante gave no indication about whether the local governments would respond favourably to F1's request, but Plante expressed her confidence that the event would take place in June as scheduled.

"For us, Formula 1 is important, and the message we want to send to all partners is that we have a great interest in this event," said Plante, quoted by La Presse.

"We hope it will be held on the same date as usual. There are still a lot of details to tie up, but I really hope our government partners will be on board, as we are, to ensure the event is held this summer."

It is believed that the Canadian GP's franchise fee is worth an estimated $18.7 million to Formula 1, which implies that this year's event, when adding on an extra $6m, will cost Canada approximately $25m.

If Liberty Media fails to strike a deal with Canada's three local governments, Istanbul is reportedly being mulled as a potential replacement, although it's unsure whether F1 would return to Turkey in June or at a later date in the season to safeguard the sport's 2021 23-race schedule.

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Phillip van Osten

Motor racing was a backdrop from the outset in Phillip van Osten's life. Born in Southern California, Phillip grew up with the sights and sounds of fast cars thanks to his father, Dick van Osten, an editor and writer for Auto Speed and Sport and Motor Trend. Phillip's passion for racing grew even more when his family moved to Europe and he became acquainted with the extraordinary world of Grand Prix racing. He was an early contributor to the monthly French F1i Magazine, often providing a historic or business perspective on Formula 1's affairs. In 2012, he co-authored along with fellow journalist Pierre Van Vliet the English-language adaptation of a limited edition book devoted to the great Belgian driver Jacky Ickx. He also authored "The American Legacy in Formula 1", a book which recounts the trials and tribulations of American drivers in Grand Prix racing. Phillip is also a commentator for Belgian broadcaster Be.TV for the US Indycar series.

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