Rio de Janeiro has given up on its controversial attempt to build a new Formula 1 race track and steal the Brazilian Grand Prix race from Sao Paulo, officials said on Monday. Rio, Brazil’s second-largest city, had hoped to use its beaches, nightlife and glamor to wrest high-level racing from the concrete jungle of Sao Paulo, the country’s economic capital. But the project to build a running track in the Camboata Forest – backed by far-right President Jair Bolsonaro and former mayor Marcelo Crivella, his ally – has sparked an uproar over its environmental impact. New centrist mayor Eduardo Paes, who took office on January 1, wasted little time dropping the plan, which had already experienced delays after a series of reports of negative environmental impact.
“We must talk about recovering green spaces, not destroying them,” said the town hall, announcing that it had instructed the environmental institute of the state of Rio de Janeiro (Inea) to suspend the authorization process for the race track.
He pointed out that the Camboata Forest, on the west side of the city, is home to hundreds of species, including 14 endangered plant species.
The decision virtually kills Rio’s attempt to regain the Brazilian F1 stage, which it last hosted in 1989.
“This process was led by the town hall, and we now say formally that we will not pursue it any further,” a city official told TBEN.
Formula 1 officials had already signed an agreement last year extending their contract with the Interlagos race track in Sao Paulo until 2025.
It was seen as a victory for Bolsonaro’s rival, Sao Paulo governor Joao Doria, and a blow to the president, who had spoken of bringing the Grand Prix back to his hometown Rio, starting with racing. of 2020 – which in the event has been suspended anyway due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Formula 1 held its first Brazilian stop in 1972, at Interlagos. The event then moved to Rio in 1979 and from 1981 to 1989, before returning to Sao Paulo.
Topics mentioned in this article