Bernie Ecclestone has said that the time has come for Interlagos to join the majority of the F1 venues currently on the calendar and improve its facilities if it wants to remain a part of the schedule.
The historic Brazilian circuit, while being among the drivers' favourites, has long been derided for its poor infrastructure, and would routinely be brought up when other venues, such as Silverstone and Spa-Francorchamps, were told that they had to improve in order to keep their grands prix. Now, it finally appears that Bernie Ecclestone, who has potential replacements queuing up to join the schedule, has run out of patience with the conditions at Interlagos - and the renovations will not be merely cosmetic.
Brazilian newspaper O Estado de S.Paulo
recalls Ecclestone's demand for an upgrade, made two years ago, which cited the country's pursuit of other major events such as the football World Cup and Olympic Games, and insisted that F1 wanted to retain links which stretch back to 1972, even if he could not guarantee a race there beyond 2014 without investment in Interlagos.
Proposals for the facelift were reportedly delivered to Ecclestone in London last week, with the 81-year old apparently happy with plans designed to expand both the pits and paddock, which currently remain the most crowded on the calendar, despite the addition of new street events such as Singapore alongside old favourites like Monaco. With Interlagos being situated on the side of a hill overlooking the dried-up lakes that give it its name, extending the current paddock would require monumental earthworks, so the plans are understood to include the construction of a new pit and paddock area alongside the straight that links turns three and four. While this would also require a relocation of the start-finish line from before the Senna 'S', the straight already contains plenty of grandstands, making it an attractive spot.
Interlagos has already been forced into revisions to its run-off areas in reaction to several serious accidents in national series over the past couple of years but, according to reports, the completion of the proposed construction should guarantee that Interlagos continues to host a round of the world championship through to 2020.
The Brazilian Grand Prix will again round out the 2012 season, completing a hectic four-race schedule taking the teams from India to Abu Dhabi and the USA before arriving in Sao Paulo, and has been talked of as part of possible South American double-header with Argentina in future years.