Canada hits back at Bernie
Organisers deny debt for 2006 and 2007 races
Last Updated: 20/10/08 9:15am
Organisers of the Canadian Grand Prix have hit back at Bernie Ecclestone after Formula One's commercial rights controller claimed they owe him money dating back to 2006.
Ecclestone took the F1 world by surprise earlier this month when he announced that the race, held at Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, had been axed from the 2009 calendar because of the debt.
However, the marketing vice-president of the race, Paul Wilson, has responded by saying that Ecclestone accepted and received the terms of payment for the 2006 and 2007 events.
Wilson said: "It is totally untrue to suggest our organisation has defaulted on payments owed for the past three years.
"It is true that we have a commercial disagreement regarding our monetary obligations, but only for 2008.
"This is the result of an historical difference within the contractual understanding between the two parties.
"We were working hard to resolve the matter in order to meet our 2008 obligations when Mr Ecclestone, without notice, surprised everyone by unilaterally dropping the Canadian Grand Prix from the 2009 FIA schedule.
"We believe it is important to shed light on this matter, and to clarify any allegations that could tarnish the reputation of our organisation.
"We do not accept the integrity of the Grand Prix du Canada should be called into question when it is evident that the table is being set for new negotiations with different levels of the Canadian government."
With the United States Grand Prix off the calendar since 2007, the decision means that there will be no race in North America next year.