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.