Formula 1 drivers have had their say on suggestions the Brazilian Grand Prix could switch venues from Interlagos to Rio de Janeiro in 2021.

The future of the Brazil race is uncertain with its current contract at Sao Paulo’s Interlagos track due to expire at the end of 2020, while there has been increasing talk of a possible move to a brand new circuit in Rio.

Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro has been particularly outspoken about plans to move the race to Rio, which formerly hosted F1 at the now-defunct Jacarepagua circuit in 1978 and from 1981 to 1989.

Interlagos has been the Brazilian Grand Prix’s permanent home since 1990, as well as for all races bar one prior to 1981.

“I think this is a very iconic track,” Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas said ahead of this weekend’s race in Brazil.

“It’s been a part of Formula 1 for a long time, very legendary races so for sure it would be a shame not race here again.

“But at the same time, at least there would still be a race in Brazil which I think should be a part of the Formula 1 calendar with all the support and all the passion the fans have for the sport here.

“Then, on the other hand, a new track would be welcome as well but it would be a shame to leave Interlagos.”

Max Verstappen, who turned in a memorable wet-weather recovery drive to third at the 2016 Brazilian Grand Prix, said the circuit is definitely one of his “favourite” tracks.

“It’s not very long, it doesn’t have a lot of corners, but when you’re driving, it’s really enjoyable,” he added.

“If it’s possible to have two Brazilian Grands Prix, that would be better than losing this one.”

While Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel said he would like to see the circuit return to its former longer layout.

“I think it’s a very nice place to go racing,” Vettel explained.

"People are very passionate about racing and very excited, especially around the track.

“It’s great, we get a lot of supporters as being Ferrari so it’s obviously nice to come here. The track is amazing, it’s only a bit short.

“In the past I think they had a longer track here. like way back, so maybe it would be nice to go back to that.

“But it’s a good place, and there’s always - somehow there is always drama here. So there’s always something happening, it’s quite unpredictable.”

Daniel Ricciardo said he would not be against a switch of venue as long as Brazil continues to host grand prix racing beyond 2020.

“I think going to Rio would be cool enough,” he said. “I’ve never been and a chance to see another part of the world and to race in another city.

“I think the important thing is that Brazil keeps a Grand Prix. I think it has such a strong history in the sport.

“For the locals here it might be a bit upsetting but I think globally for Brazil just to still hold a race I think that holds enough power and Rio is a massive city.

“I think everyone knows that, and I’d like to check it out and a new challenge, new circuit, that could be fun so I wouldn’t be against it.”

 

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