Photo: Sam Bloxham/LAT/Formula E

Formula E’s Montreal Trip in Jeopardy

By Aaron Bearden, Contributing Writer

The future of the FIA Formula E Season Four finale and any races in Montreal, Canada have been shrouded in doubt and darkness after Montreal’s mayor, Valerie Plante, confirmed the all-electric series won’t return to the city under current conditions.

The 2017-18 Formula E season, which began just two weeks ago in Hong Kong, was previously slated to wrap up the year in Montreal on July 28 and 29. The tour first ran at Montreal in 2017, and was slated to host events in the city for the next three years prior to Monday’s announcement.

“I was pretty clear during the campaign: the E-race won’t happen at the same location in 2018 and we must re-negotiate the deal so that Montrealers are not on the hook for tens of millions of dollars,” Plante wrote on Twitter.

“When we took office we immediately started looking into the (Formula E) file, what we discovered was not only troubling, it was shocking,” Plante later continued. “It became pretty clear as early as May 2017 that we were heading towards a financial fiasco.”

Plante later noted that running the planner double-header weekend as scheduled would cost the City of Montreal between 30-35 million dollars, which led her to decline the event in its’ current status.

Other avenues were allegedly explored – including moving the event to another temporary location, hosting the race weekend at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve or delaying all festivities by a year.

But in the end Plante said Formula E officials were uncooperative, claiming they told her they “couldn’t bridge the gap for 2018 because they are accountable to their stakeholders,” and that the only counter-proposal offered “was to hold the race at the same place as the 2017 event took place.”

With no confirmed agreement between the city and series, the future of the planned trip to Canada remains uncertain. A similar trip to Sao Paolo, Brazil was cancelled earlier in December, but it was quickly replaced by Punta del Este, Uruguay.

Should the final weekend be canceled outright, the season finale would move up three weeks to July 7 and 8 in New York City.

Formula E responded to a Motorsports Tribune request for comment regarding the situation, which can be viewed below.

“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 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.”

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Aaron Bearden is a Contributing Writer for Motorsports Tribune, handling coverage of both the Verizon IndyCar Series and ABB FIA Formula E Championship. A native Hoosier, Bearden has attended races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway since he was three years old. He can be found on social media at @AaronBearden93.