Brazil's president Jair Bolsonaro announced on Wednesday that Rio de Janeiro will host the Brazilian Grand Prix from 2020.
A return of F1 to Rio was alluded to recently by the state's governor, Wilson Witzel, who said that Liberty Media was very much in favour of seeing F1 move the Brazilian Grand Prix away from its current venue at Interlagos and settle in Rio.
President Bolsonaro told the media that that an agreement had been signed with governor Witzel and Rio mayor Marcelo Crivella for the construction of a circuit located in the city's suburban Deodoro area.
"The management of F1 has decided to maintain a grand prix in Brazil, but Sao Paulo has become impractical because of the event’s public financial support and the debt that exists over there," Bolsonaro told reporters.
“The new racetrack will be built in six or seven months. The hotel sector will be happy, the state economy as well since it will be six of seven thousands jobs generation.
"It is good for both Rio de Janeiro and Brazil."
Rio's future facility is set to be designed by F1's resident architect, Tilke Engineers & Architects. Its construction would be completed by the end of this year and entirely financed with private money.
The new track would also bear the name of Brazilian hero and F1 legend Ayrton Senna.
Após nossa vitória nas eleições, a Fórmula 1, que iria embora do Brasil, decidiu não só permanecer, mas também construir um novo autódromo no RJ, que terá o nome do ídolo Ayrton Senna. Com isso, milhares de empregos serão criados, beneficiando a economia e a população do estado.
— Jair M. Bolsonaro (@jairbolsonaro) May 8, 2019
President Bolsonaro also posted the following message on Twitter:
"After our victory in the elections, Formula 1, which would leave Brazil, decided not only to remain, but also to build a new race track in RJ [City of Rio de Janeiro], which will have the name of the idol Ayrton Senna. With this, thousands of jobs will be created, benefiting the economy and the population of the state."
Rio hosted the Brazilian Grand Prix for the very first time at Jacarepagua in 1978 and then again from 1981 to 1989.
Unfortunately, the former Autodromo Internacional Nelson Piquet no longer exists, having been torn apart and buried under Rio's 2016 Olympic Park.
Over the years, Interlagos has become a problematic venue for F1. Safety issues surrounding the race emerged two years ago but more importantly the event is no longer financially viable, hence Liberty Media's interest in moving the race to Rio.
This year's Brazilian Grand Prix - the penultimate round of the world championship - is scheduled to take place on November 17.