The FIA World Endurance Championship’s return to Interlagos is in jeopardy, with series boss Gerard Neveu admitting they have “serious doubts and concerns” whether the race will go off as planned.
Neveu revealed that the 6 Hours of Sao Paulo, scheduled for Feb. 1, could be replaced on the 2019-20 WEC calendar due to financial issues understood to be stemming from the event promoter and local government.
“When you organize an event there’s intermediate steps,” Neveu said. “Sometimes you’re late or in advance and sometimes you’re looking for where you are.
“That’s clearly what happened now in Brazil. We had some concerns because they’re late but [in] different parameters.”
Teams were informed of the concerns during this weekend’s 4 Hours of Shanghai, with the WEC urging competitors to hold off booking travel until a potential resolution is made.
“I said to the teams that we’re not at the moment to say this is canceled,” he said.
“I’m just saying at this moment we have serious doubts and concerns. That’s just a warning, be careful, reduce the speed to book your tickets and everything.
“In any case, we’ll have a decision in the coming two weeks. Because we need to set up, we need to prepare and inform the teams.”
Interlagos, which hosted the championship from 2012-14, was announced as returning for the 2019-20 season in March 2018 with new event promoter N Duduch Motorsports.
Bruno Senna was announced as the event’s official race ambassador, in what had been agreed as one-year deal with an option for a two-year extension.
Neveu said that the WEC is now exploring alternative locations for the fifth round of the season.
“If it’s not clear in the coming two weeks we’ll replace it by another [race],” he said.
“We are working on it. But this is not our wish clearly. We sincerely hope we will go in Brazil. We have worked very hard in the local team with this [event].”
While Neveu would not be drawn on possible backup plans, Sportscar365 understands that both Circuit of The Americas and Kyalami are being considered, largely due to the freight schedule between Bahrain and Sebring.
“You have to take into consideration the logistics way and you also have to take into consideration the facilities and opportunities and possibilities. There are many factors,” he said.