SAO PAULO, July 24 (Xinhua) — Sao Paulo mayor Bruno Covas said Friday that he accepted a decision to cancel this year’s Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The comments came just hours after F1 officials removed the Brazilian, Mexican and US Grands Prix from the 2020 race calendar as infection rates continue to soar in the countries.
“We respect the decision despite forecasts that show we will be in a much better position in November,” Covas told a news conference in Brazil’s most populous city.
“Over the past few weeks we have sent all the data to the organizers showing that the situation in Sao Paulo is very different to the rest of Brazil.”
The US Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, had been slated for October 23, a week before Mexico City’s scheduled race. The Brazilian Grand Prix had been earmarked for November 13 at Sao Paulo’s Interlagos track.
Instead, the Grands Prix will be held at Germany’s Nurburgring, Italy’s Imola and Portugal’s Portimao circuits.
Sao Paulo’s contract to host F1 expires this year but Covas said he is confident the deal would be extended.
“We are continuing our negotiations with Formula One to renew the deal,” he said.
Located on the southern outskirts of Sao Paulo, Interlagos staged the country’s first F1 Grand Prix in 1973.
It lost its host status to Rio de Janeiro’s Jacarepagua circuit in 1981, before reclaiming the event in 1990.
Last year, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said the Brazilian Grand Prix could return to Rio in 2021. Enditem