The Interlagos circuit in Sao Paulo will continue to host F1 races

Plans to build a new Formula 1 circuit in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro have been abandoned.

The project, to be built on a former army base, had been criticised by environmentalists as it required the felling of a patch of native forest.

World champion Lewis Hamilton had also indicated his opposition to the track.

Rio’s environment secretary Eduardo Cavaliere said: “We are officially giving up on the construction of Rio International Circuit.”

The circuit was to have been built in the Camboata Forest in the Deodoro area of the city. It had been backed by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and had secured a contract with F1.

However, when opposition to the project became clear, F1 subsequently agreed a deal to keep the Brazilian Grand Prix at the Interlagos circuit in Sao Paulo, which has hosted the race since 1990.

Last year’s Brazilian Grand Prix was cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic. The race is scheduled to take place at Interlagos this year, renamed the Sao Paulo Grand Prix, on 7 November.