Montreal’s mayor pulls plug on city’s Formula E race

Season-ending ePrix cancelled amid financial concerns.

Montreal’s mayor pulls plug on city’s Formula E race

Montreal mayor Valérie Plante has announced that the Canadian city has cancelled its Formula E race, which was due to serve as the finale for the ongoing edition of the championship in July 2018.

The all-electric racing series debuted in Montreal earlier this year after Plante’s predecessor Denis Coderre spent millions to bring the event to the city, which had been pencilled in to stage a doubleheader weekend to draw the curtain on the championship’s fourth season.

However, citing cost overruns and a lack of sponsorship, Plante has decided to pull the plug on the event, which she claims would have cost taxpayers between CAD$30 million (US$23 million) and CAD$35 million (US$27 million). Last week, Canadian media company CBC reported that the non-profit group established to organise the race had used nearly all of its CAD$10 million (US$7.7 million) line of credit while still owing Formula E an undisclosed amount, which is thought to be at least seven figures.  

Only 25,000 tickets were sold for this past summer’s race, which became a major talking point during the recent election campaign that saw Plante defeat Coderre in November. The 43-year-old said her party started looking into the event as soon as she was elected, and added that the only way for the race to return is for the city to work on a better business model.

“What we discovered was not only troubling, it was shocking,” said Plante. “It became pretty clear as early as May 2017 that we were heading to a financial fiasco, a situation the previous administration was perfectly aware of.

“My administration is willing to take risks and to invest money to promote Montreal and to attract international events but not without a serious business case.”

Montreal’s ePrix is the second race on Formula E’s 2017/18 calendar to be cancelled in recent weeks, after São Paulo’s authorities requested that the Brazilian city’s debut event be postponed until 2019 because they are in the process of selling off the venue which was due to host the championship.