IndyCar not planning to race in Brazil this year
SAO PAULO (AP) — IndyCar is not considering returning to Brazil this year after local organizers surprisingly canceled the series’ season opener citing financial difficulties.
As Brazilian promoters began refunding tickets for the event originally scheduled for Brasilia on March 8, IndyCar’s governing body said Tuesday it wasn’t looking for another race in the country.
“There are no plans to race in Brazil at this point in time,” IndyCar said in a statement sent to The Associated Press.
IndyCar had already announced Monday it will not replace the Brasilia race with another event that weekend, but local organizers had been looking for options to keep Brazil on the calendar.
There were reports about possibly racing in the neighboring city of Goiania, which recently renovated its track. Despite dismissing current plans to race in Brazil, the series acknowledged that a member of its track operations visited the Goiania facility after the cancellation of the Brasilia event.
IndyCar also said that “representatives from Brazil” were in Indianapolis on Tuesday to discuss the cancellation of the Brasilia race, but it did not elaborate.
The surprise decision not to race in Brasilia came as a huge disappointment for IndyCar, which won’t be able to start its season until March 29 in St. Petersburg, Florida.
IndyCar said it was “economically protected” from the hasty cancellation by the local government in Brasilia, which is in the midst of a serious financial crisis. The race had already generated costs both for Brazilian organizers and the series.
“IndyCar and its partners shipped several containers including tires, tire mounting equipment and fuel prior to cancellation of the event,” the series said. “This equipment will be arriving in Brazil this week before being re-routed back to the U.S.”
The local government in Brasilia acknowledged there was a $27 million fine for a breach of contract, but said it was valid only for the contract between IndyCar and promoter Band TV.
In its statement announcing the refund of the nearly 15,000 tickets already purchased for the race, Band TV reiterated Tuesday that the local government was the sole responsible for the event’s cancellation. It also said it was taking legal measures to avoid losses.
IndyCar also had to deal with a race cancellation in 2012, when an event in China had to be scrapped from the calendar midway through the season.
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