By Harold Emert
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Brazil’ s Public Ministry has requested a court order prohibiting the Municipality of Rio from constructing a new racetrack for Formula 1 races.
With expectations that F1 would move to Rio after its contract with São Paulo ends in 2020, exuberant Rio officials have already approved a project for the new speedway’s construction.
The Rio Motorsports consortium has been chosen to build the “Ayrton Senna Autodrome” in Deodoro, a military zone with other sports complex built for the Rio Olympics.
The project, whose estimated value is R$697 (US$170) million, would be financed by a public/private partnership.
The project would replace the racetrack in Jacarepaguá that used to host Formula 1 Grand Prix and other automobile races until 1990 but was torn down to make way for 2016 Olympics facilities.
The Public Ministry argues that a September 2018 court decision ordered a prior environmental impact statement because, according to environmental specialists, 125 species of native flora would be endangered by any construction on the land in Deodoro.
In early May, President Bolsonaro announced a racetrack would be built in Rio, where his family resides. However, the President has denied having participated in any decision to transfer the Grand Prix from Interlagos, São Paulo, which has hosted F1 since 1990.