Brazilian President points finger at Liberty over dropping Sao Paulo

New Rio de Janeiro racetrack will have the name Ayrton Senna by the suggestion of Brazils President, Jair Bolsonaro – TJ13 reported the move away from Sao Paulo back in February this year, and alas, it appears to be moving forward.

Before last week, it seemed that a fairly vague plan became more concrete with alleged letters of intent sent from Liberty Media and Moto GP’s promoter to the Mayor and Governor of Rio. The President of Brazil himself also received correspondence on the matter. TJ13 reported this with some extracts of the said letters of intent from Liberty, leaked to the Brazilan media.

Massa pulls up at the end of the 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix knowing he lost the championship

Heartbreak for Ferrari’s Felipe Massa losing out to Hamilton’s drivers championship at Sao Paulo 2008


The new autodrome to be built in Rio de Janeiro on land provided by the Army in the Deodoro neighborhood of the city’s North Zone, and in an apparent bid to bring support for the move, the circuit will be named Ayrton Senna.

The announcement was made by Mayor Marcello Crivella, on Thursday, in a ceremony that marked the signing of a term of commitment for the use of the site. According to Mayor Crivella during his speech, the suggestion for the name was by the President of the Republic, Jair Bolsonaro.

At the meeting, which was not open to all media, Bolsonaro said that the return of Formula 1 to Rio de Janeiro from 2021, in the season following the end of the current contract with São Paulo, is an attempt to maintain the Grand Prix of Brazil in the country.

“I didn’t choose Rio, I chose Brazil. It was Formula 1 that chose to return to Rio de Janeiro.” claimed the President to sources at the presser.

A rather odd statement one might think on the eve of such a historic and ‘joyous’ occasion?

Wilson Witzel, governor of the state of Rio de Janeiro, also attended the ceremony and said that the construction of a new autodrome in Rio “is essential due to the real threat of F1 leaving Brazil at the end of the contract with São Paulo next year.”

So it certainly appears that Liberty Media and Formula One Management are flexing their muscles with not so veiled threats of dropping the Brazilian Grand Prix altogether should Sao Paulo continue to push for a contract extension.

The lack of respect by Liberty of the promises made by former F1 ‘ringmaster’ Bernie Ecclestone to the people of Brazil following the tragic death of their nations sweetheart Ayrton Senna, some might consider astonishing.

It’s no secret that following the tragedy of Senna’s death during the San Marino Grand Prix at Imola in 1994, Mr Ecclestone ensured that a Grand Prix would be held in Brazil no matter what, and Sao Paulo was the favoured venue.

Obvious to everyone, including Liberty, is the popularity of holding once final, and now the penultimate, race of the Formula One season, at the circuit historically linked to the Brazilian GP – AKA the Autódromo José Carlos Pace.

Races are often eventful, usually with rain showers at the unique short oval like track. A circuit with character and certainly not one that Herman Tilke, the designer of the new Rio track, would ever be allowed to design.

Yes, the track had its problems, the actual location of the race itself not ideal, but the owners had invested significant money to reprofile and upgrade the paddock and pits very recently, an investment that is now almost certainly lost forever.

Alas, we lose another historic track, and another broken promise by F1’s new owners, the move directly going against Liberty’s own manifesto to retain and even bring back the historic tracks whilst F1 was under their tenure, whilst continuing to push out into new markets – i.e. countries that have never held a race before.

The Brazilian President knows this, it won’t be a popular decision. And now his statement makes sense.

The only consolation on offer is the name of the new Rio circuit. It’s unclear to this Judge if that will be enough to prevent more fans turning off their TV’s during yet another dull race on a brand new purpose built track. Probably not…

Now we see big business contracts for construction take priority along with the added bonus that Liberty takes a further swipe at the entangled and continued involvement of the old guard, name one Bernard Charles Ecclestone.



Liberty look to drop Interlagos, move to Rio

TJ13 reported on a potential move that would see the Brazilian Grand Prix move away from Interlagos, the home of Grand Prix racing in Brazil for many Formula 1 fans.

Back in February when we wrote the piece, it appeared to be mostly a desire for the mayor, Marcelo Crivella, to achieve a degree of prestige bringing F1 back to Rio de Janeiro. But now TJ13 understands that there has been a serious nod of interest from both F1 and MotoGP to bring races to Rio.

According to the Brazilian newspaper O Globo, a media outlet based in Rio de Janeiro, letters of intent from Liberty Media’s Chase Carey and Sean Bratches, along with MotoGP’s owners, mean that we could see a race there “in the very near future”.

One of the letters signed by Sean Bratches, director of commercial operations for F1, to the mayor of Rio, Marcelo Crivella,  and the governor of the city, Wilson Jose Witzel.



In it, Bratches talks about his expectation of working with the city of Rio de Janeiro soon, and asks for a conversation on the subject with secretaries and directors, in person or by telephone.

The letter also cites the willingness to work with the Rio Motorsports consortium, the only candidate in the call for tenders for the construction of the new Rio Deodoro circuit, which we must stress is still under initial planning.

Herman Tilke, F1’s chosen track designer, has allegedly put forward interest in the project and appears a linchpin to the whole affair.

Finally, Chase Carey himself appears to have written to the President of Brazil, showing support to continue racing in the South American country in the future, whatever that circuit might be.

It appears that it’s not just F1 that’s interested in racing at the new circuit, but also MotoGP’s owners, Dorna Sports have recently written their letter of support to the Rio mayor for the new proposed circuit.

But there might be a significant threat to Liberty Media, Tilke and Dorna Sport’s plans…. READ MORE




Astonishing move: Interlagos set to lose Brazilian Grand Prix?

A Brazilian Grand Prix was first held in 1972 at Interlagos, although it was not part of the Formula One World Championship, it was the first of many races held in Sao Paulo that would become one of the best loved races on the F1 championship calendar, but this could change soon.

Developments are underway in Brazil’s most famous city and one of the busiest metropolises in the world, Rio de Janeiro, for a brand new circuit designed by F1’s chosen track designer, Herman Tilke. And if it goes ahead, chances are that Sao Paulo will lose the GP to the new track.


The city of Rio de Janeiro has not had a race track since 2012, when the old Nelson Piquet Autodrome, in Jacarepaguá, was demolished for the construction of the Rio 2016 Olympic Park. A new racetrack was a commitment made by Brazilian authorities before the IOC (International Olympic Committee) due to this dismantling of the Piquet circuit, and already MotoGP has earmarked it for it’s Brazilian GP set for 2021.

Further, the mayor of Rio, the evangelical Pastor Marcelo Crivella, intends to announce before the world famous Rio carnival his main achievement of his administration: the transfer of the Formula 1 race from São Paulo to Rio.



Could this be true?

The bidding for the public/private partnership for the implementation, operation and maintenance of the autodrome of the Park, in the Deodoro region, will take place on February 21th and if successful, would be the first step toward the loss of Interlagos on the F1 calendar.

São Paulo, is at continued risk of being the victim of unfortunate real estate speculation, and this has escalated again for 2019. Ongoing security risks of the race track are foremost on…… READ MORE

2 responses to “Brazilian President points finger at Liberty over dropping Sao Paulo

  1. Check the comment section over at Joe Saward
    It seems Brasilians are laughing their asses off because of all the stupid lies about Indy and F1.
    Without a statement from liberty, I tend to believe that commenter.
    Maybe some brasilians over at reddit know more?

  2. So the threat of violence year in and year out trumps some silly emotional promise from 25 years ago?

    Bahrain, Sepang and Shanghai have produced as many entertaining races as any traditional track in the last 10 years.

    The writers of this site always come off as old grumpy men.

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