FIA WEC CEO Gerard Neveu has remained upbeat on the prospects of a return to Interlagos in 2016, despite facing a challenging weekend from an operational and infrastructure point of view.
Last weekend’s season-ending Six Hours of Sao Paulo was complicated due to a number of promoter-related issues, including malfunctioning internet connections, missing cabling for trackside cameras as well as a flooded media center upon arrival to the circuit last week.
Additionally, it’s understood a number of vendors did not provide services for this year’s event after allegedly being unpaid by event promoter Emerson Fittipaldi from the 2013 race, which further complicated matters.
“In life sometimes you have to be happy with what you receive and not what you would expect,” said a diplomatic Neveu on Sunday morning at Interlagos.
“To race in Interlagos is always a pleasure because there is a long tradition with motorsport. We have a lot of fans because there’s a real tradition and you’ve seen that [this weekend]. We’ve increased a lot compared to last year.
“We have some famous Brazilian drivers like Lucas di Grassi, for example, who received a visit from Felipe Massa on Friday. It means that there’s a real interest and a long story of endurance at Interlagos.”
In regards to his thoughts on Fittipaldi, whose group has served as the promoters of the event since 2012, Neveu said, “For sure I think Emerson is a fantastic driver.”
The Brazil round will not feature on next year’s FIA WEC calendar due to construction of an all-new pit building, which is scheduled to be completed only in time for the Formula One race in November.
While the new building and media center will provide improved working conditions, Neveu has remained firm on his hopes of returning to Interlagos in 2016, should the conditions improve.
“The target is to definitely be back in Sao Paulo because we have a long story with that,” he said. “As we said during the introduction of the 2015 calendar, the idea is to be back here in 2016 but there’s still many discussions with many parties in Brazil.”
It’s understood a proposal was made for Interlagos to be the opening round of the 2016 FIA WEC season in March, although those prospects could have changed following the challenging weekend.
Neveu said they have a meeting scheduled for next spring to evaluate the situation and see if conditions have improved.
Whether or not a possible 2016 return comes with Fittipaldi as the event promoter remains to be seen.
“As you know, WEC is growing up a lot so we have to guarantee every time the highest level of quality of organization,” Neveu said. “So we are working on that.
“With these conditions [this year], we reached the limits. It’s not possible. You cannot do miracles like this. We cannot spend millions and millions to do something artificial. This is not the spirit of the endurance.
“We sensibly believe with new facilities, everything can be possible in Brazil in 2016.”