Brazilian president Bolsonaro vows to take Grand Prix to Rio in 2020
Jair Bolsonaro, the president of Brazil, has claimed that from 2020, motor racing’s Formula 1 Brazilian Grand Prix will take place in Rio de Janeiro, on a new track to be built in the city.
The Brazilian round has been held at the Interlagos circuit in Sao Paulo every year since 1990. The Jacarepagua circuit in Rio previously hosted the race in 1978, and then from 1981 to 1989.
Bolsonaro has already signed a memorandum of understanding for a new race track to be constructed at the Deodoro military base in the west of Rio. The area has hosted major sporting events before, including field hockey, equestrianism and modern pentathlon at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Speaking at a military ceremony, Bolsonaro said that "the construction will take six to seven months”, and would not require public money.
Referring to Interlagos, which has a contract running to 2020, Bolsonaro said: "There was state assistance [from the local government] in Sao Paulo, with a huge debt."
The event organisers in Sao Paulo responded with a statement saying: "There is a current contract for the realisation of the F1 Brazil GP in Sao Paulo until 2020. And both parties [F1 and City Hall] continue to honour their commitments."
Interlagos renewed its contract with Liberty Media, the owner of Formula 1, in April 2014, and renovation work was subsequently carried out on various parts of the circuit, including the drivers' paddock.
It was announced earlier this month that Brazil would stage an ‘F1 Festival’, sponsored by Heineken, the Dutch brewing giant, in November this year, to coincide with the Sao Paulo race, but a host city is yet to be confirmed.
Brazil is the only South American nation to have a Formula 1 round at present.
Meanwhile, McLaren, the UK-based Formula 1 team, has agreed a long-term commercial partnership with Arrow Electronics, a USA-based electronic components manufacturer and distributor.
The Arrow logo will be displayed on the McLaren race cars, as well as on the drivers' uniforms.
A statement from McLaren said the partnership would allow the team to: "Benefit from Arrow Electronics technology and experience, and integrate Arrow's services and solutions into the McLaren Racing team's operations."