The Canadian Grand Prix has become the ninth Formula One race to be postponed this year because of the global Covid-19 pandemic.
The Montreal-based event was scheduled to be held on June 14. According to reports, it is hoped the race will be staged later in the summer.
“This postponement was not a decision that was taken lightly or easily,” read a statement from race organizers.
The announcement was made shortly before the city of Montreal cancelled all of its festivals, sporting events and other public gatherings through July 2.
Chase Carey, the F1 chairman and chief executive, said: “We have been working closely with our friends at the Canadian Grand Prix over the past few weeks and support them in taking this necessary decision to ensure the safety of fans and the F1 community. We always look forward to travelling to the incredible city of Montreal and while we will all have to wait a bit longer, we will put on a great show when we arrive later this year.”
The move comes as Formula One Management, the body that runs Formula 1, has furloughed some of its staff while senior executives have agreed to take a reduction in their salaries.
Around half of F1’s employees will benefit from the UK government scheme that pays up to 80 per cent of wages to a maximum of £2,500 ($3,086/€3,493) a month, but senior figures will not avail themselves of the scheme. FOM’s leading executives will take a minimum 20-per-cent pay cut, with Carey reported to be giving up a much larger proportion of his salary.
The F1 race cancellations could lead to a large shortfall in hosting, sponsorship and broadcast fees. F1 filings indicate the sport’s broadcast contracts “include a provision to reduce the fee payable to Formula 1 if there are fewer than 15 events.”
Meanwhile, the Canadian Football League, whose regular season was due to begin on June 11, has announced it will not kick off until at least the beginning of July.
CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie said in a statement: “We are committed to working with our teams, the Players’ Association, [broadcasters] TSN and RDS to play a full season or as close as we can come to one. We recognize this may require some creativity and we are preparing for multiple scenarios.”
All public events and gatherings in the city of Calgary scheduled until June 30, including professional sports, have been cancelled due to the ongoing heath crisis, city officials announced last week. It follows a similar move by fellow Canadian city Toronto.
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