BMW boss says Formula One needs to keep Canada GP

Thu Oct 9, 2008 6:12am EDT
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By Alastair Himmer

FUJI, Japan (Reuters) - Formula One may be damaged by the decision to axe the Canadian Grand Prix from next year's calendar, BMW-Sauber boss Mario Theissen said on Thursday.

The governing International Automobile Federation (FIA) this week issued a revised calendar, drawn up by the sport's commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone, with no slot for the Montreal race.

With the U.S. Grand Prix at Indianapolis already scrapped, the decision to drop Canada left Formula One without a North American race for the first time in 50 years.

"It's the opposite of what we want to see," Theissen, whose team took their first win in Canada this season, told reporters at the Japanese Grand Prix. "The North American market still is the biggest one, not just for BMW.

"It's always been difficult to set foot into the U.S. but Canada especially. Montreal has always in a very strong position in North America."

Theissen complained that dropping Canada made little financial sense at a time when the sport is looking at ways to cut costs to ensure its survival.

"The intention should be not to step out of this market but just the opposite -- to use Montreal as door opener for a future U.S. race as well," said the German.

"I don't know the reason (Montreal was dropped. I will figure it out."   Continued...

<p>BMW-Sauber Formula One Team Principal Mario Theissen of Germany attends a news conference before the Singapore F1 Grand Prix in this September 25, 2008 file photo. REUTERS/Tim Chong</p>