F1 to move from Sao Paulo to Rio (5th Update)
|New Rio circuit. Rio de Janeiro played IndyCar like a fiddle to get F1 to come instead, but now F1 may not happen for them|
UPDATE (GMM) It is not smooth sailing for the new Formula 1 track in Rio de Janeiro.
Last month, we reported that the proposed venue for the 2021 Brazilian GP was being accused of being embroiled in "one of the largest corruption cases in public tenders" ever seen in the city.
Now, Rio's justice department has suspended the bidding process altogether, citing the lack of an environmental impact study.
"From the information in the file, the degradation of the environment is probable," the judge said, according to Globo.
Rio Motorpark responded by confirming it will "comply" with the cessation but insisted that a major environmental impact study is currently "underway".
In June, Liberty Media CEO Chase Carey met with Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, who said he was "99 per cent" sure Rio would host a F1 race in 2021.
06/26/19 (GMM) The governor of Sao Paulo is not giving up on the Brazilian grand prix.
Earlier this week, F1 CEO Chase Carey met with Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, who declared the chance of Rio de Janeiro hosting a grand prix in 2021 at "99 per cent".
But Carey has now traveled to Sao Paulo, where authorities have a contract until 2020 to host the Brazilian grand prix at Interlagos.
Sao Paulo governor told Carey that he doubts whether the Rio neighborhood of Deodoro can produce a Formula 1 circuit in time for a 2021 race.
"I would subtly recommend that you visit Deodoro and see for yourself whether there can be a circuit there within the timeframe," governor Joao Doria, in the presence of Carey, is quoted by Globo.
Doria insisted that Formula 1 has not signed a contract with Rio.
"I'm sorry to frustrate Bolsonaro about it, but no decision is made," he said.
"It is not a political, emotional or institutional decision. It's a business decision," he said. "And the business of Formula 1 is very powerful."
Governor Doria denied that he is in any type of "political dispute" with Brazil's president over Formula 1.
"It is simply my duty as governor to defend the state of Sao Paulo," he said. "Formula 1 is one of the highest quality events in the media and it is my obligation to ensure it stays in Sao Paulo."
For his part, Chase Carey also played down the notion of a dispute between Sao Paulo and Rio.
"We are talking with Rio and Sao Paulo to find the best solution for the continuation of the Brazilian grand prix," he said.
|New Rio circuit. Rio de Janeiro played IndyCar like a fiddle to get F1 to come instead|
06/25/19 (GMM) F1's move from Sao Paulo to Rio de Janeiro has taken yet another step forward.
On Monday, controversial Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro met with F1 CEO Chase Carey in Brasilia.
"We will not lose Formula 1," Bolsonaro is quoted by Globo.
"The contract expires next year with Sao Paulo and they have decided to go to Rio de Janeiro. It will be this or the end for Brazil (in F1).
"The chance of having Formula 1 from 2021 in Rio de Janeiro is 99 per cent or more," said Bolsonaro.
However, the president's latest announcement prompted Sao Paulo governor Joao Doria to respond.
"We will not give up on F1 in Sao Paulo," he said.
"We respect Rio de Janeiro, but it does not seem to me to be economically viable.
"I also suppose there would be a reaction from the drivers, who understand that Interlagos is one of the five best racetracks in the world."
05/08/19 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today.
The Formula One Brazilian Grand Prix will move to a new purpose-built circuit in Rio de Janeiro, likely to be named after Ayrton Senna, the country’s president has revealed.
Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro signed an agreement with Rio de Janeiro’s mayor and governor that paves the way for the construction of a Formula 1 racetrack.
The motor sports track will be located on land ceded by the armed forces in Deodoro, where 2016 Olympic competitions including rugby, basketball and mountain biking took place. The city will award the project to the winning bidder in 45 days, Mayor Marcelo Crivella told reporters. Construction would wrap up some seven months thereafter, Bolsonaro said.
The president subsequently tweeted that the track would be named after Ayrton Senna, the celebrated Brazilian racing car driver who died in 1994. The FIA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The circuit’s construction will be completed before the end of the year and financed in its entirety by private money and will also target a MotoGP race.
“The management of F1 has decided to maintain a grand prix in Brazil, but Sao Paulo has become impractical because of the event’s public financial support and the debt that exists over there,” president Bolsonaro told reporters.
“The new racetrack will be built in six or seven months. The hotel sector will be happy, the state economy as well since it will be six of seven thousands jobs generation.
“It is good for both Rio de Janeiro and Brazil.”
04/27/19 This rumor is upgraded to 'strong' today.
F1 commercial boss Sean Bratches has written to Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro in support of moving the Brazilian grand prix to Rio.
O Globo newspaper reports that Bratches also sent the letter to Rio de Janeiro governor Wilson Witzel and mayor Marcelo Crivella asking for meetings "in person or by telephone".
Apparently, moves are afoot to build a circuit in Rio that could replace the aging Interlagos track in Sao Paulo.
The newspaper also said contact with the Rio authorities has been made by Dorna, the MotoGP owner, as well as F1 circuit architect Hermann Tilke.
The circuit is proposed for Deodoro, a neighborhood in Rio's west zone.
Bratches said in Baku: "I can confirm the letter."
O Globo also quoted an official of a company called Rio Motorsports as saying: "If construction works are completed by September 2020, formula one competitions can take place there in November."
F1's chief executive visited Rio de Janeiro and met with city officials in November last year. (GMM)
11/18/18 (GMM) Rio de Janeiro has emerged as a potential future F1 race host, after rumors of an IndyCar race there emerged, apparently a ruse to lure F1 instead.
With Interlagos to be privatized and Liberty Media scrutinizing the expiring contract that was negotiated by Bernie Ecclestone, a cloud hangs over the current Brazilian grand prix venue.
"We are thinking of replacing a number of existing races with unfavorable contracts with new races that offer better entertainment," F1 chief executive Chase Carey said last week.
In that context, Brazil's Globo reported that Carey recently visited Rio de Janeiro, amid rumors the city is interested in securing a race for 2021.
American Carey reportedly met with Rio governor Luiz Fernando Pezao and other local officials to discuss a circuit to be build in the district of Deodoro.
"Shortly after the race at Interlagos, Carey slept in the Marvelous City and had a long meeting schedule on Monday," correspondent Fred Sabino reported.
Carey reportedly told the governor: "When I woke up in Rio and saw the sea, I realized that it could be a good idea to bring formula one to the city."