Montreal cancels planned FE season finale

Montreal cancels planned FE season finale
By AutoSport

18/12/2017 at 21:26

The Montreal double-header that was due to be the 2017/18 Formula E season finale will be cancelled as the city is no longer willing to host the race as planned.

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Montreal joined the electric single-seater series' schedule for the 2016/17 campaign with a double-header at the end of July.

It was due to host the final round again next summer, but this was thrown into doubt when Montreal elected a new mayor, Valerie Plante.

She initially wanted the race moved from the centre of the city but not cancelled entirely, and a meeting between the series and the mayor took place last week to try and resolve the issue.

Autosport understands the series had expected to have until the start of 2018 at the earliest to evaluate satisfactory alternatives, but Plante revealed in a press conference on Monday afternoon local time that the government wished to cancel the race with immediate effect.

An FE spokesperson said in a statement to Autosport: "We are very surprised and disappointed by the unilateral decision and announcement of the Mayor of Montreal.

"This is a clear case of a new mayor undoing what the previous mayor [Dennis Coderre] did.

"Whilst there is a contract in place, we will not make further comments at this point as this is now in the hands of our Canadian legal counsel."

It is understood the promoter - 'Montreal, c'est electrique', a not-for-profit organisation formed by the local authority to run the event - is yet to pay FE for the 2017 edition and has 6.2million Canadian dollars in unpaid bills.

The event was backed by the state-owned utilities company Hydro-Quebec and attracted no private sponsorship, something Plante said the city could not afford to repeat again.

Alternatives to Montreal's downtown locations had been mooted, including racing on an adapted version of the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve Formula 1 track. This is not viable because of renovation work being conducted over the summer.

Series CEO Alejandro Agag told Autosport in Hong Kong earlier this month that racing in another Canadian city was not out of the question, but with only seven months before the planned finale it leaves the series with little time to source and execute a replacement.

If an alternative event cannot be found, the 2017/18 season would end with the second New York double-header in Brooklyn on July 16-17.

Another planned 2017/18 race, in Sao Paulo, has already been replaced by Punta del Este because of problems encountered by the local authority, but the series and the city mutually agreed to postpone it to the 2018/19 season instead of scrapping it completely.