Sao Paulo to invest 60m to upgrade circuit

Friday 12th July 2013, 19:28 by TF1T Staff 

Williams F1, LAT Photographic

The Sao Paulo government has taken the first step in upgrading the Interlagos circuit by opening up a tender process to local construction companies.

The city is at risk of losing the Brazilian Grand Prix to Rio de Janeiro unless it upgrades its facilities to meet the standards expected by Bernie Ecclestone who has long complained about the state of the circuit.

A new pit lane, three-storey pit building and changes to the circuit layout are all in the pipeline and expected to be completed before the 2015 event.

The changes are being funded by the Ministry of Tourism at a cost of £60 million ($90m). Whilst the city is under deep financial strain, the costs have been justified by the direct economic benefits the race brings which the government believes to be in the region of £66m ($100m) annually.

The work is expected to begin in August and take around a year to complete. The existing pit building will be demolished once the new 40-garage complex - which includes VIP hospitality, a new podium, race control centre and media centre - has been constructed between turns three and four.

The start/finish straight will also be relocated and the track will require widening and lengthening. It will now loop around the lake before rejoining the circuit at what is now turn five.

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