Brazilian GP to remain at Interlagos until 2020

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The Brazilian Grand Prix is set to remain at the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace in Interlagos after it was confirmed that a new contract has been signed with the circuit and officials in Sao Paulo.

Interlagos has hosted the race since 1990 and witnessed many notable moments over the years. Fernando Alonso, Kimi Raikkonen, Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel all be crowned world champion since 2004 when the race moved to an end-of-season slot on the calendar. However, despite being a favorite among fans and the drivers, the race was thought to be at threat due to the quality of the facilities at the circuit. Bernie Ecclestone suggested back in March that the Brazilian Grand Prix could move to Rio de Janeiro to coincide with the Olympic Games that will be held in the city in 2016, but a new deal has been brokered.

As a result, the race will remain at Interlagos until 2020 with the race officials agreeing to the construction of a new pit complex on the straight between turns three and four, which is a key part of the deal.

“The teams have long craved a better infrastructure to accommodate them,” Mayor of Sao Paulo Fernando Haddad explained to Globo Esporte. “The fans will benefit from a more modern race track that makes Interlagos and Sao Paulo the best place to host Formula One.”

Ecclestone also explained his satisfaction with the deal, although he did concede that the upgrades were pivotal in the agreement.

“I’m very excited that the mayor agreed to the investments we asked for many years ago,” he said. “If this does not happen, we would have to consider not having the race here. We are very happy now.”

Despite the future of the race being secure, Brazil is facing the prospect of not having a home driver on the grid for the first time in over forty years next season with Felipe Massa yet to secure his future in the sport.

Sergio Perez still has coronavirus; will miss second consecutive F1 race

F1 Sergio Perez out
Laurent Charniaux/Pool via Getty Images
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SILVERSTONE, England — Sergio Perez will be out for a second F1 race at Silverstone this week after again testing positive for the coronavirus.

The Mexican driver had hoped to return to Formula One after spending seven days in quarantine, but his Racing Point team said this morning he had tested positive.

“He is physically well and recovering,” the team said. “The whole team wishes Sergio and his family well and we look forward to his return.”

That means German veteran Nico Hulkenberg again fills in for Sunday’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix after having also replaced Sergio Perez when he was out for the F1 British Grand Prix at the same venue last week. Hulkenberg did not start that race because of an engine problem.

There are two consecutive weekends of racing at Silverstone as Formula One tries to pack in races following the pandemic-delayed start to the season.

Perez became the first Formula One driver to test positive for coronavirus, and it had been unclear whether he would be available to drive after the period of quarantine was extended to 10 days.

Racing Point also was in the news Friday after being hit with a 15-point penalty in the Formula One constructors’ championship and fined 400,000 euros ($470,000) Friday for using brake ducts based on those from last year’s Mercedes cars.

The stewards ruled that Mercedes was the “principal designer” of the parts, and that Racing Point made only minor changes to computer design data it received from Mercedes.

Rival team Renault filed protests about the legality of the brake ducts, which were added to the “listed parts” under F1 rules for 2020. That means teams must design their own. Racing Point argued it was merely using information about the Mercedes parts to inform its own design.

Racing Point uses customer engines from Mercedes and has admitted basing its 2020 car design on photographs of last year’s Mercedes car. The similarities led to the Racing Point being nicknamed the “pink Mercedes” when it was first seen in testing ahead of the season.

Racing Point can appeal the ruling. The points deduction drops the team from fifth to sixth in the standings, below Renault. The ruling doesn’t affect the points totals for Racing Point’s drivers.