Evenko has suspended the sale of tickets for next year’s planned Formula E race in Montreal as organisers reacted to a political dispute over sales for the 2017 event.
The electric car series race became a hot issue ahead of local elections in the Canadian city earlier this month, with incumbent mayor Denis Coderre refusing to reveal how many tickets were sold.
Eventually it was announced by Montréal C’est Electrique — the non-profit organisation Coderre set up to run the race – that just 5,000 more tickets were bought – 25,000 – than given away for free. Coderre’s challenger Valérie Plante, who eventually won the mayoral contest, said her opponent should be embarrassed about the sales figures.
Mayor Plante this week stated her surprise that tickets were already on sale via Evenko for the 2018 event, despite it not taking place until July and following an outcry over the use of the city centre and public highways to stage the race this year.
The Montreal Gazette newspaper reported that the Evenko webpage changed on Thursday so that the event page now indicates that tickets will be “on sale soon.”
Evenko, the Montreal Canadiens-owned event promoter, issued a statement Thursday evening detailing its involvement in the Formula E race. Evenko said that its responsibilities for the event included: preparing the event site, excluding the track; installing accommodations such as stands, corporate boxes, and garages; organising entertainment connected to the two races; promoting the event; managing ticket sales and local sponsorships.
Some critics have condemned the event for its price tag – at least C$23.8m (£14m/$19m).
Plante said she was heartened that race officials have indicated they are open to moving the race to Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve, which stages the Formula One Canadian Grand Prix.
“We would like to have another race, and we’re happy to hear that we can have it where we as an administration consider to be the best solution,” she said. “I’ve always said that it will not happen downtown for so many reasons.”