Interlagos F1 Grand Prix to go ahead despite Covid-19, says City Hall

Grand Prix

Standing behind São Paulo’s mayor and state governor, the local tourism department confirmed that the Brazilian Grand Prix, scheduled for November 15, is still set to go ahead, despite not being included in the racing organization’s revamped 2020 calendar, as we’ve shown on this Live Blog.  

“The technical specifications for the necessary public bidding processes are ready, waiting for the definition of sanitary and safety protocols for such events, including hiring bleachers,” said the tourism department in an emailed statement to The Brazilian Report, without saying whether it would be possible to hold the race without the presence of fans.

So far, the updated F1 calendar extends only until September 4-6, and all races are set to take place in Europe, where social isolation rules are being lifted as the pandemic appears to be under control. The city of São Paulo is carrying out its own reopening protocol, but it is still the epicenter of Covid-19 in Brazil, with 158,000 cases.

It is not clear whether it would be possible to postpone the event, as the Interlagos autodrome is booked from December 4 to 6 to host the Brazilian edition of the Lollapalooza music festival, initially scheduled for March. 

Also, this could be São Paulo’s last chance to hold the GP. As we have previously reported, the city has been negotiating with Liberty Media to remain on the racing calendar, including the payment of millionaire fees for the use of the F1 brand. Plus, Rio de Janeiro is also vying to host Brazilian Grand Prix itself, an idea supported by President Jair Bolsonaro.

São Paulo’s tourism department said that “renewal renegotiations with Liberty Media are ongoing.” Liberty Media did not respond to a comment request made by The Brazilian Report

Losing out on the grand prix, which is currently one of the most important events on the São Paulo tourism calendar, could be a blow to the local economy. As of 2018, the event generated BRL 334 million for the local economy and the fan base remains loyal, as last year more than 158,000 people showed up at Interlagos — the largest crowd since 2001

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