This year was the first in Formula One history that had absolutely no presence in North America. But that could change for next year if the latest reports from Canada are any indication, as insiders suggest that a new deal between race organizers and government officials on the one hand and Bernie Ecclestone on the other is in the closing rounds of negotiations.
Ecclestone pulled the plug on the Canadian Grand Prix – the only F1 race in North America and a longstanding fixture of the F1 calendar – last year after municipal, provincial and federal government officials refused to pay his exorbitant fees. But after a year without the race in Montreal, Ecclestone has reportedly changed his tune and agreed to a substantially reduced (though still highly lucrative) deal with local officials that would cut his fees by a reported $100 million, down from his previous demanded guarantee of $175 million to the governments' counter-offer of $75 million.
The F1 chief's actions are suspected to be influenced by the new Concorde Agreement – F1's secretive profit-sharing deal – with the teams eager to return to North America and Ecclestone weary of losing more manufacturers from the series following the departure of Honda and BMW. Thanks to everyone who sent in tips!
[Source: The Globe and Mail via F1-Live | Image: Paul Gilham/Getty]