“As you can imagine, I am in discussion with Formula 1 every day or every two days”, explains to Motorsport.com François Dumontier, promoter of the Grand Prix of Canada. “I am also in discussions with the authorities here, with the city and the government. It is still on schedule as planned, on June 14. We are optimistic, but we are also realistic. We still have a few weeks ahead of us, I say two or three, before we have to start erecting the stands and preparing the site. If we have to make a decision about postponing the event, it will be shared between F1 and myself after the weekend Easter weekend. “
No preparations possible immediately
Canadian Test Theater, the Gilles Villeneuve circuit is semi-permanent and requires numerous preparations upstream on Notre-Dame Island in Montreal. As things stand, the restrictions put in place across the Atlantic would not allow this work to proceed.
“Yesterday [lundi] in Quebec, our Prime Minister asked all non-essential businesses to close until April 13 “, specifies François Dumontier. “Currently, we could not work on the circuit. My team, which organizes the race, has been working remotely since last week or for ten days. We still have two or three weeks before us to make the decision. hope that we can do it on that date, become the first Grand Prix of the season. But at the same time, I’m working on different scenarios for a postponement of the event. “
If this postponement becomes inevitable, there would be alternatives to host Formula 1 later in the year, but still taking into account the harshness of the Canadian winter. The most obvious fallback solution would be to find a date before the meeting of the United States Grand Prix, set for October 25. Historically, this would not be a first since the very first Grand Prix organized in Montreal in 1978 (photo above) took place on October 8, the following three editions taking place on the last Sunday in September.
“We have no date yet”, François Dumontier delays. “I imagine that F1 is going to have to manage and play with all that. For us, let’s say that after mid-October it is impossible to organize the Grand Prix.”
“It would be a great misfortune not to be able to organize the race”, he continues. “I can understand that F1 has to analyze the big picture and the whole world, but if that were to happen, we would work for 2021. As I said, we are optimistic but at the same time realistic and lucid. We we have to assess the situation almost hour by hour. We still have two or three weeks to go. If we have to postpone the Grand Prix, we will, because if we organize it, we have to do it in a secure environment for the drivers, the public, the people who work, for everyone. “
Interview by Adam Cooper