MONTREAL — The Canadian Grand Prix has been cancelled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Promoter Francois Dumontier said the Grand Prix had been tentatively rescheduled for Oct. 9-11 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve at Montreal’s Parc Jean-Drapeau after its original June date was postponed.
But he said the turning point came when local public health authorities informed promoters and Formula One that if the event were to go ahead, no fans would be allowed entry.
“As of that moment, as a private business, it was no longer viable,” said Dumontier, who has a deal with F1 to put on the Canadian Grand Prix until 2029.
“It also prevented us from contributing to the costs of the races and the costs of bringing F1 to North America which, amid the pandemic, were much higher than usual. That was the turning point,” he said.
Dumontier said he estimated that transportation costs alone would have totalled around $10 million to host the 2020 event.
It typically costs around $20 million annually for the promoter and event sponsors to set up the Grand Prix in Montreal.
The last time the Canadian Grand Prix was cancelled was in 2009. At the time, the event promoter and F1 couldn’t come to an agreement over the rights to show the race.
“We are disappointed that we won’t be racing in Canada this year and know our fans will miss the excitement the race in Montreal always provides,” Chase Carey, the F1 chairman and CEO, said in a statement earlier on Friday.
“We can’t wait to be back next year and we know all our fans will be excited when we return.”
Instead, F1 said it planned to continue the 2020 season in Europe after the Russian Grand Prix on Sept. 27.
Three races have been added to this year’s schedule, including one at Germany’s Nurburgring circuit on Oct. 11, the date that had previously been set for the event in Montreal.
The Portimao Grand Prix in Portugal and the Imola Grand Prix will come next on the F1 calendar, meaning that no races will take place in the Americas this year.
There will be 13 races this year during the pandemic.
F1 typically tries to hold 15 to 18 events and aims to finish the season in December with races in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi.
Montreal F1 driver Lance Stroll said Friday that he was “heartbroken” that the Canadian Grand Prix had to be cancelled.
“Montreal is certainly one of the most exciting weekends on the calendar and all I can say is thank you for your support and I’m really looking forward to next year,” Stroll said in a statement.
The decision means Canada’s two biggest annual auto races won’t be held this year.
Earlier this year, IndyCar cancelled the Honda Indy Toronto, originally scheduled for July.