Due to pressing financial issues, Montreal’s mayor Valérie Plante officially announced that the all-electric series will not return to Montreal under these conditions.
The FIA Formula E championship returned for its fourth season just a few weeks ago. Nevertheless, ever since the beginning of the new season there have been rumours revolving around the fate of the finale in Montreal, Canada. The double header had been scheduled for July 28 and 29 but now faces an uncertain future. During alleged talks between Formula E’s Alberto Longo and the city council of Montreal, a decision was reached to abandon the city centre track in favour of the Circuit Gilles-Villeuneuve.
During a press conference with Montreal’s mayor Plante in Hôtel de Ville, it has been officially announced that the E-Prix will definitely not take place in 2018, terminating the three-year contract. “I was pretty clear during the campaign: the E-race won’t happen at the same location in 2018 and we must re-negotiate the deal so that Montrealers are not on the hook for tens of millions of dollars”, Plante said. When taking to office and looking at the Formula E files, what they discovered was “shocking”. “It became pretty clear as early as May 2017 that we were heading towards a financial fiasco”, the mayor stated and criticized the former government’s decision to host two races instead of one, each for the cost of 1 million Dollars each. “Montrealers decided, in November, to take back their city. We need to listen to their needs and Formula E did not meet them.”
Plante was looking at three different options to ensure a future of the E-Prix in Montreal:moving the race to the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, building a temporary race track somewhere else, or taking a one year break in order to “clean the house and work on a better business model”. “The administrators of the Formula E told me they couldn’t bridge the gap for 2018 because they are accountable to their stakeholders, I reminded them that we are accountable to the people of Montreal”, Plante stressed when talking about the future of the E-Prix. In total, the E-Prix in Montreal would cost tax payers as much as 30-35 million Dollars, so Plante announced: “This is where we draw the line. The Formula E will not be back in Montreal under these conditions.”
On Twitter, Plante announced that Formula E was not open to any of the proposals made by the administration. “The only counter proposal we got was to hold the race at the same place as the 2017 event took place”, she stated. As financial reasons are at the core of the termination of the contract, Plante announced that she plans to publish a full financial report on the Montreal E-Prix.
As for now, it is not clear whether the Formula E season finale in Montreal will be replaced. Just a few weeks ago, the planned E-Prix debut in Sao Paulo was cancelled, but Punta del Este stepped in to replace the event. Whether same actions will be taken in regards to the season finale remains to be seen.