More on the cancellation of IndyCar's season-opener

The reasoning, unsurprisingly, all comes down to money.

Apparently there’s more to the cancellation of INDYCAR’s 2015 season-opening race, which was intended to occur at the Autodromo Nelson Piquet at Brasilia, the capitol of Brazil. It’s all about money. First, if you didn't hear the news, read THIS STORY from yesterday.

Like the balance of this globe, the country of Brazil has been hurting financially since the collapse of banking systems in 2008, which caused worldwide difficulties. Brazil wasn’t immune to these problems and has been working, ever since, to get itself back on stable financial ground - just like everyone else.

Unused

Normally, a race on a permanent circuit is a financially viable affair, bringing in participants to an adjoining area that spend money on lodging, food and, hopefully trinkets to take home. Revenue streams include race tickets and venue-only items that are tied to a race. This particular circuit, however, hadn’t been used for a professional event in years and needed remediation. That was being done with the blessings of the state and the assistance of NZR Consulting’s Tony Cotman.

In the midst of this, an election was held and the previous ruling party got the boot - similar to what happened in the United States last November when control of Congress went from one side of the aisle to the other.

Cost concerns

New public prosecutors warned about the cost overruns in remediating the circuit - to the tune of $100 million! - and the government, according to Associated Press reports, concluded the March 8 event was a waste of public funds and “not in the best interest of society, a clear inversion in the priorities for public spending.”

Following the city’s inclusion in last year’s football World Cup and its expensive stadium construction, Brasilia has been in a serious financial crisis, AP stated. In fact, the newly elected governor for the Distrito Federale (DF) has given away Brasilia’s rights to the 2019 Universiade, which would have included events involving university students worldwide. A MotoGP race set for 2015 was also cancelled.

BAND TV responsible for fine?

The DF municipality claims that only BAND TV, the promoter of the race is responsible for the $27 million fine to INDYCAR for breach of this contract, although BAND had reportedly sold two-thirds of the seating, all hospitality units and was in final preparations for promotion of the race. BAND brought the Verizon IndyCar Series back to Brazil in 2010 and promoted four consecutive successful races on the streets of Sao Paulo.

With the financial volatility in that country, the 2014 race was called off and BAND contracted with the previous Brasilia municipal government for this year, with an agreement extending through to 2019.

The Brazilian racing federation lamented the cancellation but is hopefully the renovations to the circuit will continue. INDYCAR, caught by surprise on Thursday, January 29 by the hasty cancellation, noted its “great disappointment” and said it was “economically protected from such action.” It remains to be seen who is responsible for paying the $27 million fine for cancellation.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Event Brasilia
Track Autodromo Internacional Nelson Piquet
Drivers Nelson Piquet
Article type Analysis