is considering putting in a bid to buy Interlagos as the Sao Paulo government prepares to sell it… but could he face stiff competition?
The Autodroma Jose Carlos Pace is poised to be sold off to assure the future of the Brazilian Grand Prix, with former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone expected to make a bid for the venue.
The Sao Paulo venue, better known as Interlagos and owned by the city itself, has hosted the Brazilian Grand Prix in its current guise since 1990 though it can trace its roots back to 1973.
Considered one of the sport’s most iconic venue, the race has come under threat in recent years after a failure to bring its dated facilities up to standard amidst Brazil’s ongoing financial crisis. Recent updates to the pit and paddock complex remain unfinished, while plans to update facilities and grandstands are now dormant, leaving the 2017 race’subject to confirmation’.
As a result, the city’s mayor Joao Doria has revealed there are plans to relinquish control of the venue to a private investor, telling Reuters that former F1 chief Ecclestone is expected to make a bid.
“The privatisation of the track is the guarantee of the continuity of Formula One. I understand that Formula One is important but with private money, not public money. It’s perfectly possible for it to keep running with private money as a private track.”
Ecclestone has been linked to a bid to rescue Interlagos in recent years, though it was his unhappiness with progress of upgrades that led to the 2017 race to be made provisional before he was axed by the sport’s new owners Liberty Media.
The 86 year-old, who has a Brazilian wife and owns a ranch in the country, told Reuters he is indeed interested, but expects a rival bid from Liberty Media, which could use the opportunity to start its F1 portfolio in a country with a rich heritage in racing.
“They want to sell. They’re not going to subsidise anything there. They’re not going to put any money into it. They want to get rid of it,
“I haven’t made any ‘yes, I’m going to buy’ or ‘no, I ain’t going to buy’ (decision). We’ll wait and see. I think they are probably going to think about it.”