Local government pulls plug on Indy race in Brazil
The announcement made late last week left many questions unanswered, but subsequent reports indicate that it was the local government in the capital of Brasilia who pulled the plug. Apparently facing backlash over the enormous cost of hosting the FIFA World Cup last year amidst rampant poverty in the country, government officials have been under increased scrutiny over the costs associated with hosting international sporting competitions. The planned return of the MotoGP race in Brasilia was also canceled for the second year in a row.
To make matters worse, a reported two thirds of the tickets had already been sold, renovations to the Autódromo Internacional Nelson Piquet were well under way, and a sponsor for the race was due to be announced within days. Series organizers, however, say that both they and the participating teams are protected financially for just such an eventuality.
American open-wheel racing has a strong following in Brazil, where the series (and its precursors) held races between 1996 and 2000 and again between 2010 and 2013. The country has also given us star drivers like Hélio Castroneves, Tony Kanaan and the legendary Emerson Fittipaldi – to say nothing of the many Brazilian drivers who've made their mark in Formula One.
The cancellation of the Brazilian race means that the series will once again be contested purely in North America, with fifteen races in the United States and one in the Canadian metropolis of Toronto. The last time the series raced outside of North America was with the aforementioned race in São Paulo, Brazil, and the last time it raced outside of the Americas altogether was at the Twin Ring Motegi in Japan, last held in 2011.
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