Lewis Hamilton Concerned New F1 Circuit in Rio Would Mean Cutting Down Trees

Mike Pryson
·2 min read
Photo credit: Pool - Getty Images
Photo credit: Pool - Getty Images

From Autoweek

  • A group in Rio de Janeiro is attempting to take the F1 Brazilian Grand Prix from Interlagos in Sau Paulo.

  • Formula 1 has raced in Brazil annually since 1972 and at Interlagos since 1990.

  • Six-time F1 champion Lewis Hamilton is concerned the construction of a proposed new layout in Rio would adversely affect the environment.

Six-time Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton is concerned that organizers of a proposed new race circuit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, are not seeing the forest from the trees.

A group hoping to take the Brazilian Grand Prix away from traditional stop Interlagos has unveiled plans for a Rio Motorpark circuit to be constructed in the Camboata Forest. The layout would reportedly call for the removal of thousands of trees.

According to the BBC, the project has the support of Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro.

Not so much Lewis Hamilton.

"I heard it is potentially going to be a sustainable race," Hamilton said. "But the most sustainable thing you can do is not tear down any trees. I don’t think it’s a smart move. There is a global crisis with deforestation."

However, a spokesperson for the project claims the circuit would generate 3,000 jobs when it was built and as many as 7,000 indirect jobs during races and events, including Formula 1.

“Nor is information correct that there will be environmental damage resulting from the project, which is supported by a robust program of mitigating and compensatory measures,” the spokeswoman told The Guardian in an email.

Circuit organizers say they plan to remove and replant most of the trees and plants and add many more at the site itself and other places in the city as part of the master plan to make the facility the first zero-carbon circuit on the F1 schedule.

F1 has raced at Interlagos annually since 1990. This year's race was canceled when Formula 1 decided against coming to the Americas due to COVID-19 concerns. F1's contract with Interlagos ends after the current season.

What do you think? Should Formula 1 consider environmental concerns when picking its race venues? Join in the F1 talk in the comments below.