Canadian Grand Prix off again: Report

MONTREAL • The Canadian Grand Prix scheduled for June 13 at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal has been cancelled for the second year in a row, CBC Radio reported on Thursday although Formula One said discussions remained ongoing.

With the spread of Covid-19 variants and Canada battling to contain a third wave of the virus, Montreal public health authorities have concluded that even if the race is run behind closed doors without spectators, the risks are too high.

F1 officials, according to Canadian media CBC, wanted to bypass the mandatory 14-day quarantine for staff, crew and drivers, while having the entire operation run in a "bubble" with private medical staff on hand.

The race was scheduled to follow immediately from Azerbaijan, whose grand prix is scheduled for June 6 in Baku and is due to go ahead after also being cancelled last year.

"We are continuing our discussions with the promoter in Canada and have no further comment," an F1 spokesman said.

The Autosport website quoted a spokesman for the promoter as saying the radio report referred to "a document of recommendations from public health".

"We as an organisation have not had confirmation from our public health officials and won't comment until we get an official confirmation," he added.

Canada, with some of the world's toughest travel rules, obliges its citizens and residents arriving from abroad to self-isolate for 14 days.

Its borders remain closed to casual tourism, with permitted international arrivals required to quarantine for up to three days in a hotel.

One of Canada's biggest sporting events, the axing would mark the second consecutive year the grand prix has been removed from the F1 schedule due to Covid-19.

Media reports have suggested Turkey is on standby to be slotted in as Canada's replacement.

The Istanbul circuit is logistically convenient for freight coming from Baku and was brought in last year, also at short notice, to bolster the pandemic-ravaged calendar.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 17, 2021, with the headline 'Canadian Grand Prix off again: Report'. Subscribe