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Atlas F1 News Service
Media to Decide Canadian Grand Prix
Priceless Moment

Wednesday May 17th, 2000

To commemorate the rich history of the Canadian Grand Prix, MasterCard International announced yesterday that it will conduct a poll among sports media to determine the MasterCard "Priceless" Moment of the Canadian Grand Prix. At the same time, MasterCard, an official sponsor of Jordan Grand Prix, unveiled a ballot comprised of 12 Canadian Grand Prix moments that will be distributed to Canadian sports media nationwide.

The Canadian GP ballot, which was prepared by a select panel led by Canadian F1 historian Gerald Donaldson, includes "Priceless" moments from 12 races, beginning with the inaugural Canadian Grand Prix in 1967 and continuing through to last year’s accident-strewn race won by 1999 World Champion Mika Hakkinen.

The MasterCard initiative will be implemented with the assistance of more than 40 Canadian sports media, who will be polled to determine the top three moments, in order of preference, from among the 12 nominated on the ballot. A total of five points will be allotted to all first place votes; three points for second and one point for third place votes to determine the finalists, which will be announced during the first week of June. Through the aforementioned points system, the overall MasterCard "Priceless" Moment of the Canadian Grand Prix will be determined and announced in Montreal several days prior to the first Canadian Grand Prix of the new century.

The 12 moments that have been nominated are:

1967 - The first ever Canadian Grand Prix for the Formula One World Championship was held to commemorate Canada's Centennial year. The historic event, at the daunting Mosport Park circuit on August 27, 1967, was won by Jack Brabham.

1973 - In 'The Grand Prix of Confusion' at Mosport a pace car appeared in a F1 race for the first time. While accident debris was being cleaned up the pace car came out but failed to find the race leader, causing lap charts to "blow up." Many hours later it was decided the winner was Peter Revson.

1977 - Canadian driver Gilles Villeneuve made his Canadian Grand Prix debut, driving a Ferrari which failed to finish. The race, the last to be held at Mosport, was won by Jody Scheckter driving a car entered by Canadian team owner Walter Wolf.

1978 - Local hero Gilles Villeneuve became the first Canadian to win a F1 race. As he crossed the finish line the scream of his Ferrari’s Viz engine was drowned out by the deafening roar of the crowd. Jody Scheckter was second in the Canadian-entered Wolf. Prime Minister Trudeau presented the trophy to Villeneuve, who went on to become one of the greatest F1 heroes of all time, and thus, one of the best known Canadians in the world.

1979 - Arguably the most exciting CGP ever featured a thrilling race-long, wheel-to-wheel battle between Alan Jones and Gilles Villeneuve, who finished in that order in front of 100,000 enthralled spectators.

1981 - For his amazing display of 'press-on-regardless' tenacity in his battered Ferrari on a wet track Gilles Villeneuve (in his final home appearance before he was killed, in 1982) won the 'fighting spirit' award after finishing third, behind Jacques Laffite and John Watson.

1991 - Nigel Mansell dominated the race, only to stall on the final lap, thereby handing victory to Nelson Piquet. Mansell denied the wide-spread opinion that he celebrated too early and accidentally shut the engine off while waving to the crowd.

1995 - On his 31st birthday Jean Alesi won his first (and only) F1 race, on the circuit named after his hero, Gilles Villeneuve. Alesi's winning Ferrari bore the number 27, which was made famous by Villeneuve. Alesi wept with joy and Ferrari fans went wild.

1996 - 'Jacques-o-mania' gripped Le Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, with the son of the local hero making his home race debut in his first F1 season. Jacques sent his fans home happy, finishing second to his Williams teammate, Damon Hill.

1997 - After qualifying second to Michael Schumacher, Jacques Villeneuve threw it all away by crashing out of his home race on the second lap. Schumacher went on to win, though the event was stopped 15 laps early when Olivier Panis crashed heavily and broke his leg.

1998 - Michael Schumacher won a controversial race, despite being penalised 10 seconds for pushing another car off the track. First corner crashes caused the race to be re-started twice, and Schumacher later accused Damon Hill of dangerous driving.

1999 - Mika Hakkinen won another accident-strewn race notable for having three world champions crash at exactly the same place. Damon Hill, Michael Schumacher and Jacques Villeneuve, all went off at the last corner, where Villeneuve had also come to grief in 1997.

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