What’s next: the Brazilian Grand Prix

Sao Paulo – 13th November

Traditionally, the Brazilian Grand Prix was either the season’s curtain raiser or the denouement. However, since the Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix muscled its ways onto the end of the calendar, the race hosted at Interlagos Autódromo José Carlos Pace has had to make do with being the penultimate race.    

In a country where football is viewed as a religion and Christianity is equally influential, the ghost of arguably Formula One’s greatest driver Brazilian Ayrton Senna looms large over this sporting nation and superb Grand Prix weekend. The late champion’s name is often on everyone’s lips in the build-up and drivers are always keen to pay deference to him on the track, so hard, fast racing usually comes to the fore.

In 2013 it was announced that the contract for the Brazilian Grand Prix had been extended until 2020. As part pf that extension, the ageing facilities at Interlagos have been promised an upgrade. The US$73 million of work will include a new three-storey pit complex, featuring 40 hospitality boxes, a new control tower, press centre and podium. The work is being conducted in and around the Autodromo Carlos Pace’s existing events calendar, which includes a host of domestic Brazilian championships as well as international race meetings, under the watchful eye of SPObras, a Sao Paulo City hall organisation created by the Department of Urban and Infrastructure Works

Interlagos has a capacity of 70,681 people. The 2015 attendances are yet to be announced but the 2014 Grand Prix attracted 133,109 fans across the three days, which was a slight increase on the 130,475 who attended in 2013.

Sao Paulo’s Centre for Tourism and Events estimates that the race is responsible for generating R$260 million in tourism money, with the average foreign spectator spending 3.83 days in the city. The city’s hotels reported 90 per cent occupancy during the race weekend, whereas not so recently hotel occupancy during Grand Prix weekend had fallen as low as 50 per cent 

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