Last year, FIA pulled the Grand Prix of Canada off of the Formula One calendar after a disagreement over sanctioning fees. Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone had demanded $175 million over five years from race promoters at the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in Montreal, and then pulled the race after receiving a counter offer of $160 million for five years.
But one year can make a huge difference, as newspaper reports from Canada are stating that a deal is imminent to bring Formula One racing back to Montreal for a fraction of their original offer in 2008. The reported deal is for $75 million over five years, and the fact that Ecclestone apparently is compelled to accept the offer speaks volumes to the current state of Formula One.
Two race teams (Honda and BMW) who were racing in 2008 will be out of the sport by the end of this season, with rumors circulating about the possible withdrawal of Renault and Toyota. In addition, tracks in Germany and Turkey are experiencing financial difficulties, while luxury box revenue is down across the board.
Which is why Formula One needs a race in North America, and with a United States venue apparently out of the question after the disastrous end of the series’ time at Indianapolis, Montreal is the only viable option. Meaning that Formula One suddenly needs Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve more than the track (which has hosted NASCAR races in recent years with great success) needs Formula One, leading to the perfect storm of conditions for Ecclestone to be forced into accepting a bargain basement offer.