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Canadian Grand Prix on the Rocks for 2021 F1 Season

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Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, main straight, grandstands, and paddock
Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, on Montreal’s Notre Dame Island, has hosted the Canadian Grand Prix since 1978
Photo: pedrik via CC

The Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal was canceled last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and may be canceled again this year despite appearing on the official 2021 Formula 1 calendar.

Earlier today, CBC News reported the race had been canceled based on a report by Radio-Canada. However, it has since corrected the report: the grand prix has not been canceled, but its future is uncertain to say the least.

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There is considerable concern over the risks of mixing F1 visitors with local circuit staff and volunteers, as well as the financial issue that would arise should the race be run behind closed doors without spectator income.

Set to take place on the weekend of June 13, the Canadian Grand Prix would be the second part of a double-header following the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. F1 drivers and staff would thus be unable to respect Canada’s mandatory 14-day quarantine period.

According to Motorsport, F1 boss Stefano Domenicali has asked the Canadian government for an exemption to the quarantine, suggesting alternate measures such as those taken at the 2020 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix — when the entire F1 paddock traveled from Bahrain on charter flights and stayed in reserved hotels.

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Dr. Horacio Arruda and Dr. Mylène Drouin, public health directors for Quebec and Montreal, are currently in talks to find a solution. “As for holding the event behind closed doors, there is a way to do it with well advised protocols in terms of public health,” Arruda told Motorsport.

“As for the virus importation by people who come from outside without quarantine, there are ongoing discussions between Quebec and Canada,” Arruda added. “There are analyses and assessments that will be done on the risks.”