Sao Paulo: Brazil’s Formula One Grand Prix will continue at the Interlagos circuit in Sao Paulo until 2025, the state governor announced Thursday, apparently dashing Rio’s rival bid to host the event.
“The Interlagos International Racetrack was confirmed as the venue for the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix for the next five years,” state governor Joao Doria told a press conference.
The Formula One body did not immediately respond to a request for confirmation by AFP.
Doria told reporters that Sao Paulo’s mayor Bruno Covas would sign a contract renewal with US developer Liberty Media.
“The negotiations were carried out based on the existence of a track approved by the drivers and approved by the teams, and which has been Brazil’s home for Formula One for more than 30 years,” Doria said.
The announcement appeared to end Rio de Janeiro’s hopes of landing the competition.
The investment company behind the project, Rio Motorsports, is hoping to build a new track through a tropical forest.
The Rio plan suffered a blow last month with the release of a state environmental report that pointed to numerous “mistakes” and “omissions” in preparing the plan.
The environmental licence is the last remaining obstacle preventing the start of a project that has the support of Rio Mayor Marcelo Crivella and far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, but has been opposed by six-time world champion Lewis Hamilton.
Rio Motorsports told AFP that efforts to obtain an environmental licence would continue despite Doria’s announcement, and that the track could still host races in other disciplines, such as Moto GP.