NASCAR & Auto Racing

Formula One drops last North American race

The Canadian Grand Prix was dropped from Formula One's 2009 calendar on Tuesday, leaving North America without a race on the circuit.

Governing body FIA ratified its calendar for the coming season and omitted the Canadian GP, which was first held in 1967. It's the first time since 1987 that the Canadian GP won't be on the F1 schedule.

The inaugural Abu Dhabi GP was added to the 2009 schedule, which will feature 18 races, the same as this year.

Contractual problems between Circuit Gilles Villeneuve officials and commercial rights holder F1 management are believed to have contributed to the decision.

Canadian GP officials said in a statement that they had only learned of the news via the media.

"Consequently, we will not release any comment until we've spoken to the interested parties, both Formula One Management and the Federation International de l'Automobile," the statement said.

The Canadian race was left off the calendar 21 years ago because of a dispute between local organizers and the F1 over sponsorship. The United States GP was dropped from the F1 schedule last year after being held in Indianapolis for eight years..

The Turkish GP, originally scheduled to be raced in August, takes the Montreal spot on June 7. That leaves a four-week break between the Hungarian GP on July 26 and the European GP on Aug. 23 at Valencia, Spain.

At the World Council meeting held at the FIA headquarters in Paris, FIA also gave president Max Mosley the power to negotiate directly with the Formula One Teams Association about proposed measures to cut F1 team costs in half by 2010.

Should negotiations with the 10 teams fail, then the FIA can "enforce the necessary measures to achieve this goal."

Also, Marco Piccinini will leave his post as deputy president for the sporting side of the body a year early "to focus on other professional commitments." Piccinini, whose successor will be elected at the Nov. 7 general assembly, was serving out his second term.