Sunday, February 8, 2015

Brasilia government forced IndyCar race cancellation in money worry

http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/117528

(by Mark Glendenning autosport.com 1-31-15)

IndyCar's scheduled 2015 season-opener at the Brasilia circuit was cancelled due to government concerns about wasting public funds.

According to the Associated Press, public prosecutors warned that the event was "not in the best interests of society" and there was a "clear inversion in the priorities for public spending".

The prosecutors also reportedly identified problems in the contracts that the promoters negotiated with the previous administration, which they claim would have required spending more than $100 million on track upgrades alone for the Autodromo Internacional Nelson Piquet.

The cancellation of the IndyCar race comes at a time when Brasilia is gripped by a severe financial crisis.

A MotoGP race originally scheduled for 2014 was cancelled, and vast amounts of public money were spent on upgrading the Estadio Nacional for last year's football World Cup.

"While all efforts are under way to organise an event not essential to the society of the federal district, public employees are not getting paid," public prosecutors said.

The cancellation on Thursday of what would have been IndyCar's first visit to the venue came as a surprise: two-thirds of the tickets for the race had been sold, and a title sponsor for the race had been announced just one day earlier.

That same day, Tony Cotman, whose company NZR Consulting was in charge of the track upgrade, tweeted images of construction work being carried out at Turn 11.

IndyCar said in a statement that both the series and the paddock are "economically protected" from the cancellation.

There is understood to be a $27 million fine for breach of contract, which the Brasilia government says only applies to the contract between IndyCar and promoter BAND TV.

BAND was also the promoter of the Sao Paulo street race, which ran between 2010 and '13.

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