IN NEED OF 'SURGERY': Bernie Ecclestone previously said: "(Interlagos) It's an old race track, a bit tired, but with a good update and some plastic surgery, it'll be all right." Image: AFP
Brazil had to spend millions on upgrading the ageing Interlagos circuit or risk losing its place on the Formula 1 calendar.
That's the claim of Sao Paulo mayor Fernando Haddad after he inspected the first phase of R720-million improvements to the popular venue in October 2014.
The biggest change ahead of the 2014 Brazilian GP on November 9, the penultimate round of the 2014 championship series, was a full resurface of the track.
And, for the 2015 race, teams will be housed in a completely new pits-and-paddock complex.
Haddad was quoted by the Spanish news agency EFE as saying a federal government programme funded the improvements. "If it were not for the programme we would be in a very delicate and serious risk of losing this race to another city."
Brazil's Globo also quoted him as saying: "It is the biggest reform since 1990 because we were at risk of losing F1 to another Latin American city such as Buenos Aires."
And Haddad was quoted as saying by Totalrace: "We were at a delicate moment because the track is loved by drivers and the teams - but there was a technological gap."