Just last month it was announced that Interlagos had secured a new contract for 5 years, after the contract with the previous promoter came to an end.
Under the previous deal, agreed under Bernie Ecclestone, F1 received no fee and understandably the sport had no desire to continue once that contract expired.
At this point, with Chase Carey’s hopes of taking the race to Rio de Janeiro rapidly evaporating, a new promoter for Interlagos was needed. Step forward Brasil Motorsport, a company owned by investment entities controlled by Mubadala, a global investment company from Abu Dhabi.
“We are pleased to announce the city of Sao Paulo will continue to host the Brazilian Grand Prix until 2025 and look forward to working with our new promoter in the years ahead,” said Carey in one of his final acts as F1 boss. “Brazil is a very important market for Formula 1 with devoted fans and a long history in the sport. The race in Brazil has always been a highlight for our fans, the drivers and our partners and we look forward to providing Formula 1 fans with an exciting race at Interlagos in 2021 and over the next five years.”
“It is a great joy to be able to announce that Interlagos will continue to host one of the of the most important events in world motorsports,” added the Mayor of Sao Paul, Bruno Covas. “We made a tremendous effort to keep the race in our city. We have robust infrastructure for tourists, public safety and offer top-notch services.
“We believe that hosting the Grand Prix, in addition to promoting our city to the world, will continue to bring important contributions such as job creation and income generation,” he continued. “We have seen studies that show that for every Real invested in the Sao Paulo GP, 5.20 Reals are generated for the local economy.”
At the time of the announcement it was confirmed that the event would be named the Sao Paulo Grand Prix, thereby leaving the door open for another city, such as Rio, to host the Brazilian Grand Prix, whilst also reflecting the level of financial support from the city of Sao Paulo.
However, documents subsequently released reveal that the level of support from the city is 20m Reals (£2.75m) a year for the duration of the contract. Under the old arrangement, the city only financed any necessary renovation work at the track.
With the details of the new contract now made public, a petition was started challenging the deal.
“The facts reveal without a doubt, at least at this stage, that the principles of publicity and transparency are being violated in an explicit manner,” said Judge Emilio Migliano Neto as he suspended the contract ahead of further investigation.
“For this reason, also the absence of bidding, there is a need to suspend the execution of the contract, to assess whether there were effectively resources to cover the expenses detailed in the signed agreement.”
“F1 is important for Sao Paulo and for Brazil, I’m a fan,” tweeted local councillor and lawyer Rubens Nunes, “but that does not authorise the city to enter into contracts without a bid, under secrecy and with a company without ‘expertise’ in the area, created a few days ago for this.”
The authorities now have five days in which to submit the relevant documents.