Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante has pulled the plug on the city’s planned E-Prix, which was to serve as the finale for the 2017/18 FIA Formula E Championship season.
The July 28-29 race, located in the city’s downtown district, will not be held for a second consecutive year due to what Plante says has turned into “financial fiasco” with the organization behind the event.
According to a report by CBC, ‘Montreal it’s electric’, the non-profit event organizers, owes creditors millions of dollars for unpaid bills and is $9.5 million CAD into its line of credit.
Plante alleges that taxpayers would have to pay $35 million CAD in order for the race to happen next year, despite a push having been made to re-locate the event to nearby Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
“Montrealers have made it clear that we can’t waste their money on poorly planned projects that don’t serve them,” Plante said.
The city had a three-year deal with Formula E Holdings Ltd that was set to expire in 2019.
The news broke Monday afternoon during a press conference.
“We are very surprised and disappointed by the unilateral decision and announcement of the Mayor of Montreal,” a statement from Formula E read.
“This is a clear case of a new mayor undoing what the previous mayor 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.”
The original deal to bring Formula E to Montreal was brokered by former Mayor Denis Coderre, with an initial three-year contract being agreed with an option to add another three years on top.
Plante ran part of her election campaign on an anti-Formula E platform as part of her push to save taxpayers money, and wished to relocate the race to the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve that hosts Formula 1 every year.
However, with construction work due to commence at the permanent race circuit following next year’s Canadian Grand Prix in June, a switch was not possible.
It remains unclear if a contingency plan is in place to replace the double-header round with another event in Canada or North America.
The New York E-Prix, also a double-header event, takes place two weeks prior in Brooklyn.
Additional reporting by Luke Smith.