Rio de Janiero could host Brazil’s first ever E-Prix in January 2021, according to the ABB FIA Formula E Championship’s inaugural champion Nelson Piquet Jr., who is part of an initiative supporting a potential race.
Plans are being put in place for Brazil’s second largest city to host a Formula E event on a temporary circuit with 2014-15 champion Piquet and his father Nelson Piquet Sr. spearheading the project.
A team of senior Formula E executives visited the city last month while Piquet Jr. held meetings at Formula E Operations base in London prior to that visit.
Rio was one of the first races to be announced by Formula E for its maiden season and was intended to host a race in November 2014. However, this was canceled in April that year due to a lack of funding and operational difficulties for the project.
A subsequent event which was planned to be part of the 2017-18 calendar in Sao Paulo was also cancelled in December 2017 and replaced at a late stage with a race in Punta del Este, Uruguay.
Now, the Piquet family is involved in a new initiative which has the backing of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who recently signed a letter of intent for a possible race to happen in Rio.
“I’m working through all the steps that are needed to be done and getting everybody together,” Piquet Jr. told e-racing365.
“You very much need to take the right steps, and I think I’m pretty sure taking the right steps and slowly planning
“We have already had a feasibility study, the president already did a video signing an official letter [of intent]
“This started because a group of business guys that didn’t know much about motorsport wanted to do it and they said, ‘Look guys we need we need your help, Nelson you’ve driven [in Formula E], Nelson Sr., you have a big respect from everybody in this country’.
“That’s how we started moving forward and things are going very well.”
Piquet Jr. also confirmed that he had met several times with Formula E executives about getting a race to his home country and that a target date of January 2021 is being worked on.
“We did a trip to Formula E in London already and formally we went to see the Brazilian President too,” he said.
“OK, there’s still some way to be to go but the most important part is not even securing the money.
“The most important part is really having the fire brigade, to the police to everybody involved services-wise, it’s so much more so much more work than you think of when you get to the race track.
“We’re still 50 percent away from what needs to be done, but we’re getting there.
“I’m excited because it’s going to be a temporary track. So it’s going to be something like Valencia had in F1 so it will be cool and we are targeting January 2021 initially.”