In all honesty, the project – which had no money, no serious support and no feasible location – and which merely appeared to be the pipe dream of Chase Carey and Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, never looked likely to happen.
While Bolsonaro wanted to take F1 back to Rio, with which he has close ties, for Carey it appeared to be yet another attempt to sever all ties with the sport’s previous management.
The proposed track was to be built in the Deodoro region of the city, and in May 2019, with an eye on the fact that the existing contract with Sao Paulo ended in 2020, it was being claimed that the facility could be built in just seven months.
Rio MotorSports, which was the only bidder for the contract, said it would build and operate the track for 35 years, with the cost of construction, which was estimated at £135m, coming from the private sector.
The circuit, which was co-designed by Hermann Tilke, was to be located on land provided by the army, and which had hosted a number of events that were part of the 2016 Olympic Games in the city.
Things subsequently went quiet, and by August last year Sao Paulo governor, Joao Doria was insisting that the race would remain at Interlagos.
“Formula 1 will not leave Sao Paulo,” he said. “Rest assured that it will continue here.
“There was a lot of desire from Rio to take the F1, but from Sao Paulo it will not leave,” he added. “We will not allow F1 to exit.”
Shortly after, it was revealed that he news that Chase Carey was lobbying the Governor of Rio, calling on him to issue the requisite licences that would allow for the construction of the circuit at Deodoro, a project that would involve the razing of much of one of the city’s last remaining forests.
World champion, Lewis Hamilton was among the first to criticise the move.
“My personal opinion is that the world doesn’t need a new circuit,” said the Briton. “I think there’s plenty of circuits in the world that are great.
“I love Interlagos,” he added, referring to Interlagos. “I have been to Rio, and it’s a beautiful, beautiful place.
“I don’t know all the details of it,” he added, referring to the proposed track, “I heard that it’s potentially going to be sustainable. But the most sustainable thing you can do is not tear down any trees, particularly in a time where we’re fighting a pandemic, and there continues to be a global crisis around the world.
“I don’t think with deforestation and everything, I don’t think it’s a smart move. I don’t have the details of why, but it’s not something I personally support.”
In mid-December it was confirmed that Sao Paulo would continue to host the Brazilian Grand Prix until 2025, albeit under the Sao Paulo Grand Prix banner.
The new promoter being Brasil Motorsport, a company owned by investment entities controlled by Mubadala, the global investment company from Abu Dhabi.
Yesterday, Rio’s Environment Secretary, Eduardo Cavaliere tweeted that Rio Mayor, Eduardo Paes, who only took office last month, had instructed him to archive the process to secure an environmental licence.
“We are officially giving up on the construction of Rio International Circuit in the Camboata forest area,” he wrote.
“Rio is racing for a sustainable future,” he added, “Camboata Forest shall not be supplanted by Rio international race track. Under Mayor Eduardo Paes’s leadership we have officially withdrawn the construction’s licensing process.”
With Vietnam looking increasingly unlikely to happen, Rio, along with Miami, is the third ‘new’ event the sport has failed to secure.