Brazilian Grand Prix under cloud

Date published: November 15 2016

Formula One organisers and politicians said that Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix might have been the last for a while.

The Interlagos circuit is in need of money amid expense-cutting measures in the Brazilian economy as the nation seeks to climb out of a downturn.

“If we can’t bring sponsors back, then Formula One management would have to cover that gap,” race organiser Tamas Rohonyi said ahead of Sunday’s race. “That is why Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone is worried.”

Rohonyi said this year’s race would face a deficit of about $4 million, while next year’s amount could be up to $10 million with the absence of some sponsors.

Shell and Brazilian state-run oil giant Petrobras did not renew sponsorship deals ahead of this season, with Petrobras cutting expenses amid a corruption scandal.

Ecclestone this week met Brazilian President Michel Temer, who can direct Petrobras.

Meanwhile, Sao Paulo’s mayor-elect Joao Doria said he would privatise the Interlagos compound.

Sao Paulo Mayor Fernando Haddad said that ongoing renovations costing about $60 million should be completed, “but it is better that we discuss that with the new mayor this week because it might not be worth to invest more here.”

“When I took over in 2013, no one expected this infrastructure that we built at Interlagos,” Haddad said. “Even with the economy crisis, we managed to do almost all of it.”

“Formula One is a good investment. It brings revenues of about $60 million in only one weekend and it makes Sao Paulo known abroad. I hope it stays.”