The planned upgrade to the facilities at the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace, better known as Interlagos and as the home of the Brazilian Grand Prix, has begun.
The circuit is a favorite in the Formula 1 community, but was at risk of falling off the calendar due to its outdated and run-down facilities.
Bernie Ecclestone had flirted with the idea of a street race in Rio de Janeiro to coincide with the 2016 Olympic Games. “I’ve been unhappy with Sao Paulo for some time, because the facilities need a big facelift,” the sport’s supremo said back in 2013. “We could be in Rio for the Olympic year.”
However, a new contract was confirmed later that year to keep the race at Interlagos until 2020 on the condition that investment was found and a new pit complex was built.
Despite originally planning to move the start-finish straight down to between turns three and four, circuit officials confirmed that this had been scrapped in favor of a new complex on the existing home run.
“There was a previous idea of moving the pit complex to the other side of the circuit, but it was dropped after a more detailed study,” a circuit spokesperson confirmed. “It was felt that some of the defining characteristics of the classical layout would be lost.”
The $80m upgrade work has begun, and will continue until one month before the race, which is set to take place on November 9th. The new facilities will then be completed in time for the 2015 Brazilian Grand Prix.