Brazil ramps up efforts to keep grand prix

<i>Image: MAURO PIMENTEL / AFP</i>
<i>Image: MAURO PIMENTEL / AFP</i>
MAURO PIMENTEL / AFP

Organisers of the Brazilian grand prix have ramped up efforts to keep Interlagos on the Formula 1 calendar.

The contract expires in 2020, but local government says it intends to privatise the circuit in the meantime.

Complex negotiations

"The race is important for the city. It is in everyone's interest to keep it," Sao Paulo mayor Bruno Covas told Algemeen Dagblad newspaper.

READ: Vietnam, Netherlands step towards Formula 1 in 2020

But the problem is not only bureaucratic and financial, involving complex negotiations with Liberty Media.

The Brazilian grand prix has also been under the spotlight in recent years following a spate of violent robberies on F1 personnel travelling to and from the track.

But there were no high-profile incidents last weekend, with all ten F1 teams ramping up security with assistance from local authorities.

For instance, specially-trained drivers ferried the personnel to the track in organised convoys, hotels near the crime hotspots were avoided, and even armoured cars were used.

"The security situation has improved. We worked hard with all the authorities involved to ensure that everyone could come to this race. I repeat: the grand prix is important to the city," Mayor Covas told Bild newspaper.

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