Formula 1’s Brazilian Grand Prix is set to stay at Interlagos for at least five more years, The Race understands, as the planned new Rio de Janeiro track has been foiled.
The Brazilian GP had been held at Interlagos in Sao Paulo every year since 1990 before the coronavirus pandemic forced the 2020 race’s cancellation.
That was due to be Interlagos’s final grand prix amid a fallout between the promoter and F1 owner Liberty Media, which had been forced to let the race take place without a fee due to a legacy deal struck by former F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone.
Liberty agreed a deal with Rio Motorsport, a team in Rio de Janeiro, to move the race to a new purpose-built facility for 2021.
However, problems quickly emerged in Rio Motorsport’s bid to gain the necessary environmental licence to build in the targeted area, which contained thousands of trees and wildlife.
When F1 announced its provisional 2021 calendar this week, it revealed that a new deal had been struck with Sao Paulo to return to Interlagos after all, subject to agreeing a contract with an alleged new promoter.
An F1 spokesperson said that the championship does not comment on ongoing contractual discussions.
But the Sao Paulo mayor and governor of the state have both confirmed it is set to be a multi-year deal, not a one-off while F1 waits for the Rio circuit to progress.
The Race understands that the failure to secure a licence to build the track, and uncertainty over whether that will ever be obtained, has prompted F1 to strike a new long-term Interlagos deal instead.
This shores up the future of the Brazilian GP, which gives F1 visibility in an important market.
It is also understood that Rio Motorsport’s deal to take over the TV rights in Brazil has also been rescinded.