Bernie Ecclestone may be gone from the top of Formula 1, but he is not going to go out of the picture completely just yet…
The new chairman emeritus of Formula 1 has met up with the mayor of Sau Paulo Joao Doria to discuss purchasing the Brazilian Grand Prix circuit at Interlagos from the city as part of a wider privitisation plan. The country is currently in a financial crisis, which has lead to the idea of raising cash via privitisation of real estate. This includes the Interlagos circuit. Whilst a lot of you may be a bit apprehensive about Ecclestone buying the circuit, particularly with how Hockenheim vanished off the calendar this year and Monza nearly following suit, the sale will include a clause which makes it the buyers responsibility to secure the race long term. Felipe Massa welcomed the chance that Ecclestone might indeed buy the track.
“If anybody is interested to buy [Interlagos] and to make something good for the racetrack and for the city as well, it’s good. But we need to wait and see and hope the best for them. Bernie is a guy who doesn’t buy something if he doesn’t believe it’s something good to do. If Bernie is interested, he completely has my respect.”
The track is currently under contract to 2020 but there have been issues along the way. The rate at which it took the circuit to revamp the ageing facilities has often been highly criticised. Mayor Doria wants to keep the race at the circuit and is incredibly keen on extending its current contract to 2030. A huge cash injection from Mr Ecclestone might just be what the circuit needs, and we know Bernie is a huge fan of Brazil, the track and its drivers. Indeed, he was determined to keep a Brazilian on this year’s grid after Massa originally announced his retirement. Ecclestone was rumoured to be trying to get Felipe Nasr a deal to stay in F1 with Manor. As it has transpired, Massa is still on the grid and the Brazilian Grand Prix may become Ecclestone’s responsibility.