Rio de Janeiro gives up on planned new F1 circuit

FILE PHOTO: Formula One F1 - Hungarian Grand Prix - Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary - July 29, 2018 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton celebrates on the podium after winning the race REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo

(Reuters) - Rio de Janeiro's new mayor has scrapped previous plans, criticised by seven times world champion Lewis Hamilton and environmentalists, to build a new Formula One circuit in the city.

Rio's Environment Secretary Eduardo Cavaliere said on Twitter on Monday that Mayor Eduardo Paes, who took office last month, had instructed him to archive the process to secure an environmental licence.

"We are officially giving up on the construction of Rio International Circuit in the Camboata forest area," he said.

Mercedes driver Hamilton had last year criticised the attempt to build a new circuit, saying he would be against cutting down forest.

Sao Paulo's Interlagos circuit subsequently agreed a deal to keep the Brazilian Grand Prix on the Formula One calendar until 2025. Last year's race was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rio’s old Jacarepagua F1 circuit was demolished to make way for facilities for the 2016 Olympics. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro had backed a privately-built new track.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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