The Interlagos circuit in Sao Paulo is set to lose the Brazilian Grand Prix from 2020 in favour of a brand new facility in Rio de Janeiro.
Announced on Wednesday in Brazil by president Jair Bolsonaro, the switch will move the race to an all-new Hermann Tilke designed venue named after Ayrton Senna.
Uncertainty has surrounded the future of Interlagos, which has recently invested in a new pit and paddock complex, but remains blighted by crime immediately outside the venue.
In 2010 Jenson Button was mugged a gun point while leaving the circuit while a host of other teams members have been the subject of armed attacks, leading many to employ personnel security for the event.
There are plans for a new Grade 1 facility near Rio de Janeiro, with president Bolsonaro confirming the race will switch to the track located in the Deodoro district.
“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,” Bolsonaro said.
“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.”
Bolsonaro subsequently followed up his statements on social media, confirming the switch of venues for the Brazilian race.
Após nossa vitória nas eleições, a Fórmula 1, que iria embora do Brasil, decidiu não só permanecer, mas também construir um novo autódromo no RJ, que terá o nome do ídolo Ayrton Senna. Com isso, milhares de empregos serão criados, beneficiando a economia e a população do estado.
— Jair M. Bolsonaro (@jairbolsonaro) May 8, 2019
“After our victory in the elections, Formula 1, which was leaving Brazil, has decided not only to stay but also to build a new race track in (Rio de Janeiro), which will be named after idol Ayrton Senna,” his tweet said.
“With this, thousands of jobs will be created, benefiting the stat’s economy and population.”
The move would see Interlagos lose the Brazilian Grand Prix despite having a year to run on its existing deal, which was signed in 2014.
However, reports have claimed a new three-year deal ahead of the 2018 has seen the event run without paying a hosting fee to Liberty Media.
The average hosting fee in 2018 was estimated at $30million USD.
Interlagos hosted the first world championship Brazilian Grand Prix in 1973 at an extended Interlagos circuit, while the Jacarepagua circuit in Rio hosted the event throughout the 1980s, though that venue was demolished for the 2016 Olympic games.
In the event’s 47 year history, Alain Prost is the most successful driver with six wins to his name, while Brazilians Emerson Fittipaldi, Nelson Piquet, Ayrton Senna, and Felipe Massa have all won twice.
Of the current crop, Sebastian Vettel has three wins, and Lewis Hamilton two.