Interlagos is hoping to fend off a potential switch of the Brazilian GP from Sao Paulo to Rio de Janeiro in 2021.
The Brazilian round of the World Championship was hosted by Rio’s Jacarepagua in 1978, and throughout the eighties. Interlagos has been ever-present on the F1 calendar since reclaiming it in 1990.
The original Jacarepagua is no longer in existence. There are plans to develop a new site, Rio Motorpark, on army land.
Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro has been quoted saying that the Rio project is “99% certain” to happen. But, at the Brazilian GP, Interlagos promoter Tamas Rohonyi said that he was “99% certain” that his track could negotiate a long-term extension, possibly until 2030.
“Either F1 remains here or there will be no Brazilian GP.” Rohonyi said.
He is sceptical about the Rio project being ready in time.
Interlagos has a rich history with Brazilian drivers. Although Argentina’s Carlos Reutemann won the inaugural race in 1972, home hero Emerson Fittipaldi scored back-to-back wins for Lotus and McLaren the following two years. The late Carlos Pace won for Bernie Ecclestone’s Brabham team in 1975.
While Nelson Piquet took victory in Rio, Ayrton Senna famously won at Interlagos in 1991 and repeated two years later. Felipe Massa was victorious in ‘06 and then in an unforgettable ‘08 finale when he lost the championship to Lewis Hamilton on the last corner of the last lap.
SOUNDBITE (English) BRUNO SENNA: FIA WORLD ENDURANCE DRIVER "Interlagos is an iconic circuit. It's a track that has brought many fans (to Formula One).... It became, virtually, the racing center in Brazil. Obviously, Ayrton won both of his two races in Brazil - in 1991 and 1993 -- here in Interlagos. Everybody cares deeply for this track. I sure care deeply for this track. I hope Interlagos keeps serving Formula One for many, many, years to come.”