Massa: Bigger problems in Rio than racing

Jamie Woodhouse

Felipe Massa is still shocked over plans for the Brazilian GP to leave Interlagos, and believes there are bigger issues to fix in Rio de Janeiro.

Felipe Massa wants to see his country address other issues in Rio de Janeiro before they look to build a track there that can host the Brazilian GP.

The country’s president Jair Bolsonaro kicked up a fuss recently when he announced that the Brazilian Grand Prix would leave Interlagos and move to a new track in Rio de Janeiro which was yet to be built.

Interlagos insisted they had a valid contract to host the event in 2020, while Formula 1 themselves confirmed this, but declared their interest in a race being held in Rio.

Massa, who raced in Formula 1 from 2002-17 for Sauber, Williams and Ferrari insists he is still “shocked” by the desire to move the event, and warned that the government must tackle other problems in the state before they put a new track there.

“First of all, when I heard it the first time it was very strange,” Massa told Motorsport Week.

“I just heard our president saying on Twitter that in Rio de Janeiro they will build a new track next year.

“I said that this will never happen. 2020, building the track in eight months, even one year. You cannot say impossible, but almost impossible. I was really, really surprised.

“When I heard 2021, it can be possible. The only thing is that we need to build the track, we need to understand who is putting the money in because it should be from the private point of view and not money from the government which I think is in writing anyway.

“There are so many things you need to do in Rio such as improving the city. That is more important than putting the money into the track.

“If it’s in the private point of view then yes, that is nice to have.

“A new track is always a fantastic feel so now we need to understand the contract, we need to understand everything around that.

“What I can say is that I always welcome Rio as an important city for the track. I don’t like the area that they are going to build the track.”

Rio de Janeiro track layout revealed

Interlagos has been the Brazilian GP’s home since 1990, and Massa would be devastated to see it go.

“I will miss Interlagos because it is one of the best races,” he stressed.

“We always have incredible races. Overtaking, the show, enjoyment from the drivers.

“If it’s an important thing for the country, it’s welcome but we’ll wait and see how it’s going to happen. I’m still a bit surprised but let’s wait and see.”

Follow us on Twitter @Planet_F1 and like our Facebook page.