Sao Paulo hits back over Brazil President's Rio F1 proposal

The governor of São Paulo has hit back in the wake of the claims made by Brazil’s President that the country’s Formula 1 event will move to Rio de Janeiro next year.

Recently-elected Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro revealed earlier this week that a privately-funded circuit is to be constructed in the Deodoro district on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro.

Bolsonaro claimed that the circuit will be prepared in time for Formula 1 to move to the venue from 2020, though the project has yet to begin, nor does it hold any contract with the championship.

But São Paulo’s Interlagos – which has hosted Formula 1 since 1990 – holds a valid contract to host next year’s Brazilian Grand Prix.

The Brazilian Grand Prix is currently the least lucrative ‘flyaway’ race for Formula 1 owing to the nature of the contract that was inherited by Liberty Media when it acquired the sport.

“I want to make it very clear that the Formula One GP is in São Paulo and will continue in São Paulo,” said state governor João Doria.

“We have a contract with F1 promoters until 2020, and there are heavy penalties if either party breaches this agreement.

“I love Rio, I lived in Rio, I have a good relationship with the mayor and the governor of Rio, but we will fight to keep F1 in São Paulo.

“Interlagos is among the five best circuits in the world. Our hotel network is structured.

“Another aspect is economics, we managed to guarantee the volume [of spectators] and average price that sustains F1 profits.”

Doria also revealed that Sao Paulo’s Mayor Bruno Covas is set to meet with Formula 1 officials next month in order to discuss a contract extension for Interlagos.