Brazilian Grand Prix moving to Rio from 2020, says Bolsonaro

“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.

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel leads the race ahead of Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas at the start of the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Interlagos race track in Sao Paulo last year.   -  AFP

Next year's Formula One Grand Prix in Brazil will be held in Rio de Janeiro, ending a three-decade long association with Sao Paulo, President Jair Bolsonaro said 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.”

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Bolsonaro also signed a memorandum of understanding for the construction of the new circuit 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.