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A storm brewing in Brazil?

NEWS STORY
07/10/2020

Just days before standing down as CEO of Formula 1, Chase Carey wrote to the Governor of Rio de Janeiro, informing him that "finalised race agreements" had been made with "Rio Motorsports LLC to host, stage and promote Formula 1 events in Rio de Janeiro".

In the letter Carey states that the agreements were "ready for execution" and that an official "announcement by Formula 1" would be forthcoming "as soon as all necessary licences have been issued by the relevant authorities, INEA/CECA, in Brazil/Rio de Janeiro".

Ignoring the fact that the Governor does not issue such licences, that fact is that, as has been reported previously, next to nothing is known about the prospective promoter, who appears to have no previous experience of sporting events, nor is it clear where the funding will come from. After all, not only does the promoter have to find the race hosting fee there is also the little matter of the actual construction of the circuit.

To add to the fun and games, the letter was immediately leaked to Brazil's media and seized upon by various environmental groups as the site targeted for the circuit would involve the razing of one of the city's last remaining forests, the Camboata Forest.

In the days since Carey's letter was sent (14 September), a number of powerful groups have been targeting the event online, using the #BrazilSaysNoToDeforestation hashtag.

Indeed, as Lewis Hamilton gains increasing global attention for his activism, the world champion is being called on to voice his opposition to the Camboata project.

The fact is that since Carey, in collaboration with Brazil's president, Jair Bolsonaro, first announced plans to take the Grand Prix to Rio for 2021, there has been no noticeable progress, with no indication yet of where the money will come from or the precise location of the track.

Frustrated by his failure to secure a second race in Liberty's backyard, some say that Rio is Carey's final attempt to finally secure a new race before handing over to Stefano Domenicali.

However, as if the leaking of the letter - and the subsequent environmental backlash - wasn't bad enough, we understand that as the representative of an American company Carey should not be lobbying a public official - a Governor no less - on behalf of a local business interest. Indeed, this might even be illegal under US Law.

Indeed, though suggesting the Rio Governor, Claudio Castro merely has to give his approval, at which point the Is will be dotted and the Ts crossed, Carey's move may well have done irreparable damage to the project, such as it is.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Dirt, 08/10/2020 19:29

"On the other side of the coin, this could all just be posturing by Carey to pressure Interlagos into terms more favorable to Liberty. Given the Rio option seems less than likely, Carey isn't playing the game very well if that's the game he's playing."

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2. Posted by PGS, 08/10/2020 10:16

"@ChickenFarmerF1 - For Liberty and probably more likely more for Carey, the thing wrong with Interlagos is that it's a track and promoter particularly close to Bernie. So immediately they just want to change it because of that."

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3. Posted by TokyoAussie, 08/10/2020 3:24

"Unknown promoter with an unknown track location. What could possibly go wrong?"

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4. Posted by Lakota, 07/10/2020 16:33

"So going to cut down a forest to build a race track, when other facilities exist ???? So much for the "GREEN" F1 charade "

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5. Posted by ChickenFarmerF1, 07/10/2020 15:08

"@ian_w - It sure looks like yet another Tilke abomination.

What's wrong with Interlagos? It's been popular with drivers and fans for a looooong time. "

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6. Posted by ian_w, 07/10/2020 8:19

"Notwithstanding anything else, if the accompanying track layout diagram is accurate, who in their right mind would want to race on that cjrcuit? It looks totally uninspired and similar to so many other circuits. If this year has taught us anything, it's variety and distinctiveness that is making things interesting."

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