Britain’s Lewis Hamilton opposes plans to hold the Brazilian Grand Prix at a new track in Rio De Janeiro to be built on land that is currently forest.
The Deodoro circuit has agreements with F1 to hold the race but the track has not been built and its construction is facing environmental opposition.
Six-time world champion Hamilton said: “I heard it is potentially going to be a sustainable race.
“But the most sustainable thing you can do is not tear down any trees.”
He added: “I don’t think it’s a smart move. There is a global crisis with deforestation.”
The Brazilian Grand Prix has been held at Sao Paulo’s Interlagos circuit since 1990 but its contract ended this year. Its race has been cancelled in 2020 as a result of the coronavirus crisis, in which Brazil has been one of the most badly affected countries.
The promoter at Interlagos does not have a good relationship with the new bosses of the sport, the US Group Liberty Media, who are determined not to return to the track.
The Deodoro project, which involves building in the Camboata Forest, has been backed by Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro but its construction would involve the felling of thousands of trees and requires the approval of environmental authorities.
Bolsonaro’s actions as president have sparked opposition from environmental groups on other matters, particularly what they say is his failure to prevent fires in the world-famous wilderness areas of the Amazon and Pantanal, and the wider clearing of the Amazon rainforest for farmland.
Bolsonaro has described the criticisms as “disproportionate”.
The organisers of the Rio race say they plan to remove and replant most of the trees and plants and add many more at the site itself and other places in the city.
They also intend to make Deodoro the first zero-carbon circuit on the calendar and claim that the plans would create a new and improved environment area and that they also will develop a sustainability and environmental protection centre to educate the population.
Hamilton, who has backed a number of environmental causes in recent years, said: “My personal opinion is the world doesn’t need a new circuit. There are plenty of circuits that are great and I love Interlagos.”