Joao Doria, Mayor of Sao Paulo, has announced his intention to sell the Brazilian city’s Interlagos motor-racing venue to help secure the future of the country’s Formula One grand prix race.
According to the Reuters news agency, Doria said that the city-owned facility was included in a BRL7bn (€2.1bn/$2.3bn/£1.8bn) package of privatisations sought by Sao Paulo as it moved to clean its finances.
A sale would allow for major upgrades to the track, as well as authorisation for the construction of supporting amenities such as a hotel and museum.
Doria also told Reuters that he expects Bernie Ecclestone, former chief executive of the Formula One motor-racing championship, to place a bid for the venue.
“The privatisation of the track is the guarantee of the continuity of Formula One,” Doria said.
“I understand that Formula One 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.”
Speaking in a separate interview with Reuters, Ecclestone said he has opened talks about a possible bid, but added that Liberty Media, the new owner of Formula One, could also be interested in acquiring Interlagos.
Ecclestone said: “They want to sell. They’re not going to subsidise anything there. They’re not going to put any money into it. They want to get rid of it.
“I haven’t made any ‘yes, I’m going to buy’ or ‘no, I ain’t going to buy’. We’ll wait and see.”