Formula One has announced that the Canadian Grand Prix will be the latest race in its schedule to be postponed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The race, based on Montreal, was slated to run from June 12th to the 14th but will now hopefully be rescheduled for later this year.
Canadian Grand Prix organizers stated that they were saddened to see the race postponed and that the conclusion to do so was made as a result of consultation with the F1 governing body. Those consultations also include city officials in Montreal as well as the federal government.
The announcement came only hours after the Canadian Football League chose to push their season back while also coming at a time when the Woodbine Racetrack opted to postpone the running of the Queen’s Plate.
Currently, the only upcoming event in sport still slated to go ahead is the RBC Canadian Open at Toronto’s St. George’s Golf and Country Club in mid-June. However, the PGA is evaluating this and carefully monitoring on the on-going pandemic, but estimates are that it too will be postponed.
The Canadian Grand Prix is one of the country’s largest sporting attractions with it drawing in large crowds of fans of the sport. Last year’s race saw attendance numbers reaching 307,000 but with the border closed and non-essential businesses closed, race organizers were left with no other choice but to postpone this year’s race.
The Canadian Grand Prix is one of the country’s largest sporting attractions with it drawing in large crowds of fans of the sport. Last year’s race saw attendance numbers reaching 307,000 but with the border closed and non-essential businesses closed, race organizers were left with no other choice but to postpone this year’s race. Commenting on this, CEO and President of the Canadian Grand Prix Francois Dumontier stated,
“The majority of businesses who work with us are non-essential. That would’ve put in peril our chances to hold the race if it happened on June 14th.”
Also making the announcement was Montreal’s Mayor Valerie Plante, who announced that the city has put a stop to all sporting and cultural events until July. In a statement, Plante said,
“It is a difficult decision because Montreal is a known destination for world class events and festivals, and we will be there to support our partners.”
It was expected that any announcement would not come until after Easter but arrived sooner. When asked if the event would be postponed last month, Dumontier stated that he was hopeful that they would be able to stage the race near the end of the summer or early fall if that was to be the end result. Canada is the eighth race in the Formula One schedule and joins seven other races that have already been cancelled, and while race organizers would have been honoured to see the first race of the season held on Canadian soil, Dumontier stated it could be next year before F1 returns, adding,
“The calendar will be turned upside down. We’re used to starting the summer with the race in June. We’ve had it in June since 1982. We’ll have to make some concessions to show we are flexible. Maybe we will have to have it in the fall, it’ll be colder.”
That position was shared by Chase Carey, the CEO and chairman of Formula One who stated that they were working closely with race organizers on the 2020 schedule. In a news release, Carey stated,
“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.”
Organizers have stated that all purchased tickets remain active and that once organizers determine its options, ticket holders will be given several options in relation to their tickets. It is also expected that the Honda Indy Toronto slated for the 10th to 12th of July may be postponed but currently is still on the schedule released by IndyCar on Monday.
IndyCar released a statement in response to the race stating that
“Conversations have been ongoing with Exhibition Place, City of Toronto, Honda Canada and IndyCar with the intention to hold the event on the originally scheduled date as planned,” the race said in a statement. The event is subject to the guidance and mandates of federal, provincial and municipal authorities regarding public gatherings and travel. The health and safety of all associated with the Honda Indy Toronto will remain the priority.”