F1 Sao Paulo GP deal hit by legal challenge as Brazilian judge suspends contract

The deal between Formula 1 and the new promoter of the Sao Paulo Grand Prix at Interlagos faces a hurdle after a judge intervened and temporarily suspended the contract

F1 Sao Paulo GP deal hit by legal challenge as Brazilian judge suspends contract

The decision results from a legal challenge regarding the use of public funds to secure the race, and the level of transparency surrounding the deal.

In December it was announced that then F1 CEO Chase Carey had signed a five-year contract with a new promoter, and the race would no longer be known as the Brazilian GP.

The previous deal, agreed with Bernie Ecclestone, had left F1 receiving no fee over its last few years. That arrangement ran out in 2020, although there was no race last year due to its cancellation amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

After plans for a race at a proposed new circuit in Rio failed to come to fruition, Carey opted to keep F1 at Interlagos, but with a different promoter.

A deal was agreed for the race to be run by a newly-formed company called Brazil Motorsport, which is backed by the Abu Dhabi government through its Mubadala investment arm.

Brazil Motorsport is headed by former Olympic sailing competitor Alan Adler, who has long been involved in promoting major events in Brazil, including rock concerts, Cirque du Soleil shows, PGA tournaments and NBA pre-season games.

The change of name to Sao Paulo GP reflects a new level of support from the city, which was crucial to the new deal.

The true nature of the Sao Paulo financial support has subsequently become clear in legal documents that revealed how much the city is paying, namely 20m Reals (£2.7m) per year over the five years of the deal.

Previously public support had extended only to payment for renovation work at the Interlagos venue.

With the financial information now revealed the contract has been challenged by a public petition.

The legal action has been supported by local councillor and lawyer Rubens Nunes, who wrote on Twitter: "F1 is important for Sao Paulo and for Brazil - I'm a fan - but that does not authorise the city to enter into contracts without a bid, under secrecy and with a company without 'expertise' in the area, created a few days ago for this."

The contract has been suspended by Judge Emílio Migliano Neto, pending further investigation.

"The facts reveal without a doubt, at least at this stage, that the principles of publicity and transparency are being violated in an explicit manner," the judge noted.

"For this reason also [absence of bidding], there is a need to suspend the execution of the contract, to assess whether there were effectively resources to cover the expenses detailed in the signed agreement."

The Sao Paulo authorities have five days to submit relevant documents.

shares
comments
Mercedes facing "formidable" F1 '21 challenge ahead of "earthquake" changes
Previous article

Mercedes facing "formidable" F1 '21 challenge ahead of "earthquake" changes

Next article

Russell not thinking about 2022 Mercedes F1 chance

Russell not thinking about 2022 Mercedes F1 chance
The Mercedes F1 pressure changes under 10 years of Toto Wolff Plus

The Mercedes F1 pressure changes under 10 years of Toto Wolff

OPINION: Although the central building blocks for Mercedes’ recent, long-lasting Formula 1 success were installed before he joined the team, Toto Wolff has been instrumental in ensuring it maximised its finally-realised potential after years of underachievement. The 10-year anniversary of Wolff joining Mercedes marks the perfect time to assess his work

The all-French F1 partnership that Ocon and Gasly hope to emulate Plus

The all-French F1 partnership that Ocon and Gasly hope to emulate

Alpine’s signing of Pierre Gasly alongside Esteban Ocon revives memories of a famous all-French line-up, albeit in the red of Ferrari, for BEN EDWARDS. Can the former AlphaTauri man's arrival help the French team on its path back to winning ways in a tribute act to the Prancing Horse's title-winning 1983?

Formula 1
Jan 31, 2023
How do the best races of F1 2022 stack up to 2021? Plus

How do the best races of F1 2022 stack up to 2021?

OPINION: A system to score all the grands prix from the past two seasons produces some interesting results and sets a standard that 2023 should surely exceed

Formula 1
Jan 31, 2023
Who were the fastest drivers in F1 2022? Plus

Who were the fastest drivers in F1 2022?

Who was the fastest driver in 2022? Everyone has an opinion, but what does the stopwatch say? Obviously, differing car performance has an effect on ultimate laptime – but it’s the relative speed of each car/driver package that’s fascinating and enlightening says ALEX KALINAUCKAS

Formula 1
Jan 30, 2023
Why F1's nearly man is refreshed and ready for his return Plus

Why F1's nearly man is refreshed and ready for his return

He has more starts without a podium than anyone else in Formula 1 world championship history, but Nico Hulkenberg is back for one more shot with Haas. After spending three years on the sidelines, the revitalised German is aiming to prove to his new team what the F1 grid has been missing

Formula 1
Jan 29, 2023
The potential-laden F1 car that Ferrari neglected Plus

The potential-laden F1 car that Ferrari neglected

The late Mauro Forghieri played a key role in Ferrari’s mid-1960s turnaround, says STUART CODLING, and his pretty, intricate 1512 was among the most evocative cars of the 1.5-litre era. But a victim of priorities as Formula 1 was deemed less lucrative than success in sportscars, its true potential was never seen in period

Formula 1
Jan 28, 2023
Why Vasseur relishes 'feeling the pressure' as Ferrari's F1 boss Plus

Why Vasseur relishes 'feeling the pressure' as Ferrari's F1 boss

OPINION: Fred Vasseur has spent only a few weeks as team principal for the Ferrari Formula 1 team, but is already intent on taking the Scuderia back to the very top. And despite it being arguably the most demanding job in motorsport, the Frenchman is relishing the challenge

Formula 1
Jan 27, 2023
The crucial tech changes F1 teams must adapt to in 2023 Plus

The crucial tech changes F1 teams must adapt to in 2023

Changes to the regulations for season two of Formula 1's ground-effects era aim to smooth out last year’s troubles and shut down loopholes. But what areas have been targeted, and what impact will this have?

Formula 1
Jan 26, 2023