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GP Week : Issue 32
F1 paddock critical of Canada’s omission F1 teams have reacted angrily to the omission of Canada from the 2009 F1 calendar. The FIA World Motorsport Council released the official 2009 Formula 1 calendar following its October 7 meeting, with the surprising omission of the Canadian race. While it has been known for some time that the Canadian race organisers have found keeping up with the financial demands of the sport’s promoters, the loss of the only North American race on the calendar has been roundly condemned within the F1 paddock. BMW Motorsport boss Mario Theissen did not mince his words when questioned on the race’s loss. “We are not happy about not being in North America,” he said in Japan. “The US is the most important and biggest car market for BMW and I think for the industry as a whole. It has always been difficult to set foot into the US but Canada has always been a very strong Formula One supporter and the race in Montreal. “I have seen the race in Montreal as an operational base to get a second race up and running in the US, and so we would, rather than drop the Canada race, use it or expand the operations in North America to have a Canadian plus at least one US race.” Honda’s Nick Fry agreed, stating that he believed Formula 1 needed to agree on a firm tactical and strategic approach to racing in the US. “I think we need to look at North America on a more strategic basis. As soon as we were down to one race on the continent, things inevitably were going to get difficult because the costs of transportation and appearing just once across the other side of the Atlantic were huge and I think really we need to look at how we’re not just going to get back Canada but how we get back to America, potentially more than once, as it is such an important market.” Canada’s place on the calendar has been taken by Turkey, which has been moved from August. The result however is a four week break for the sport in the middle of the summer, something which the teams had requested given the sport’s intention to increase the number of races on the calendar.