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Sao Paulo to sell Interlagos F1 track, Bernie Ecclestone may bid

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The mayor of Sao Paulo has confirmed the city will sell off the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace at Interlagos, the circuit that hosts Brazil’s annual Formula 1 race.

Interlagos has welcomed F1 since 1990, but concerns were raised about the future of the race last fall amid a lack of progress in planned development work.

The track issued a statement last year saying it wanted a five-year extension for its Brazilian Grand Prix contract, which is due to expire in 2020.

Speaking to Reuters, Sao Paulo major Joao Doria confirmed the city was aiming to privatize the track as part of a bid to ease financial uncertainty being faced in the region following a heavy national recession.

“The privatization of the track is the guarantee of the continuity of Formula 1,” Doria said.

“I understand that Formula 1 is important but with private money, not public money.

“It’s perfectly possible for it to keep running with private money as a private track.”

One possible buyer could be ex-F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone, whose 40-year reign of the sport came to a close in January following Liberty Media’s acquisition of the series.

Ecclestone has previously expressed an interest in buying tracks, such as the Nürburgring in Germany, and has close ties with Brazil through his wife, Fabiana, as well as owning a ranch in the country.

The 86-year-old confirmed he is considering an offer for Interlagos, telling Reuters: “I haven’t [said] ‘yes, I’m going to buy’ or ‘no, I ain’t going to buy’. We’ll wait and see.”

“He showed interest. He’s going to participate in the auction for the track,” Doria added.

“I have the impression that international funds are going to take part as well.

“I have no doubt that we will sell the Interlagos track, and sell it well.”

This year’s Brazilian Grand Prix will act as the penultimate round of the 2017 F1 season, taking place on November 12.

Formula 1: Recapping the past week’s news

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This past week in Formula 1 was dominated by teams launching their 2018 challengers for the 2018 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season.

A total of six teams took the covers off their new chassis for the world to see this week, joining Haas F1 Team and Williams Martini Racing in doing so.

The list below contains the teams that launched their 2018 chassis this week and the name of their 2018 chassis:

  • Red Bull Racing – RB14
  • Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team – C37
  • Renault Sport F1 Team – R.S.18
  • Scuderia Ferrari – SJ71H
  • Mercedes AMG Petronas – W09
  • McLaren F1 Team – MCL33

Testing for everyone begins on Monday at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, home of the Spanish Grand Prix, beginning a stretch of two weeks of pre-season testing prior to the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

Sahara Force India and Scuderia Toro Rosso are expected to unveil their 2018 cars the morning of the first day of testing.

Force India Up for Sale?

Rumors about the future of Sahara Force India, already rumored to be changing names soon, took yet another interesting this week as news surfaced about a possible sale of the team to British energy drink firm Rich Energy.

This news also comes as current majority team owner Dr. Vijay Mallya faces developing legal troubles involving money laundering, further adding to the murky environment surrounding a team that has become the “best of the rest” behind Mercedes, Ferrari, and Red Bull in recent years.

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