Brazil’s F1 fu­ture re­mains cloudy af­ter wet thriller

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Lewis Hamil­ton em­pha­sised how much the Brazil­ian Grand Prix meant to him af­ter win­ning in the wet on Sun­day, but the race’s fu­ture on the For­mula One cal­en­dar re­mains clouded by uncer­tainty. “I just as­sume this is go­ing to be on the grand prix cal­en­dar be­cause it is one of the best races,” said the triple cham­pion af­ter suc­ceed­ing at In­ter­la­gos, his boy­hood idol Ayr­ton Senna’s home track, for the first time. “It is part of the her­itage of For­mula One. We can­not lose this grand prix.” De­spite the Mercedes driver’s words, the chances of Brazil re­main­ing on the cal­en­dar re­main very much a ‘maybe’ due to the coun­try’s on­go­ing eco­nomic cri­sis.

Brazil will also have only one driver next year, in an un­com­pet­i­tive car, and even that is not cer­tain with Felipe Nasr yet to be con­firmed by strug­gling Sauber. The at­mo­spheric am­phithe­atre has an as­ter­isk against it, along with Canada and Ger­many, on the 2017 draft cal­en­dar and com­mer­cial supremo Bernie Ec­cle­stone is not sound­ing pos­i­tive. “I think we may well be able to sort Canada out, pos­si­bly, but the other two...,” the Bri­ton told Reuters with a shrug. The fi­nal cal­en­dar, cur­rently 21 races, will be pub­lished in De­cem­ber. In­ter­la­gos, with fans ex­posed to the el­e­ments and the track close by slums on one side, has un­der­gone an up­grade to the cramped pits and pad­dock area but there is al­ways more to do. “They’ve done a good job, but it needed to be done,” com­mented Ec­cle­stone, who is mar­ried to a Brazil­ian and owns a ranch in the coun­try.

The 86-year-old Bri­ton said long-stand­ing talks with Ar­gentina, which last hosted a race in 1998, could lead to an­other South Amer­i­can op­tion but “it would be good not to lose this race”. Cana­dian pro­mot­ers have sounded op­ti­mistic about keep­ing their grand prix but the prospects for Ger­many, a home race for cham­pi­ons Mercedes and Fer­rari’s four-times cham­pion Se­bas­tian Vet­tel, do not look good. “Trou­ble is it’s all com­mer­cial. If they can’t make it work com­mer­cially they will stop,” Ec­cle­stone said of Ger­many. Hock­en­heim held the race this year but has been re­luc­tant to do so in suc­ces­sive sea­sons un­less the host­ing fees are frozen, while the Nuer­bur­gring has baulked at the cost. —Reuters

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