The 2020 Brazilian Grand Prix will be held in Rio de Janeiro, ending a three-decade-long association with Sao Paulo, the country’s President Jair Bolsonaro announced on Wednesday.
“A new motor-racing track is going to be built. The construction will take six to seven months and the Brazil Grand Prix will be held in Rio de Janeiro next year,” Bolsonaro said during a military ceremony in the city.
“There was state assistance (from the local government) in Sao Paulo, with a huge debt. Keeping F1 there was no longer viable, so they turned towards Rio.”
Bolsonaro also signed a memorandum of understanding for the construction of the new circuit (pictured above) at the Deodoro military base in the west of the city.
Deodoro was used as a venue for some events at the 2016 Olympics, including equestrian, field hockey and modern pentathlon.
Bolsonaro promised the new track would be built “without public money” and that it would generate up to 7,000 new jobs.
The Brazilian race was held in Rio in 1978, and then from 1981 to 1989, before returning to its original home at the Interlagos circuit the following year.
According to local reports, representatives for F1 owners Liberty Media held talks with local officials in Rio last November over a possible relocation of the race from Sao Paulo.
The estimated value of the concession to build and operate the venue for 35 years is 697-million reais (US$177-million), according to information from Rio’s city hall. It estimates the track will have an economic impact of 626-million reais annually.
Autodromo José Carlos Pace (aka Interlagos) has hosted the Brazilian Grand Prix 36 times, while Autódromo do Rio de Janeiro in Jacarepagua has hosted the Grand Prix ten times.