Hopes to build a Formula One motor racing circuit in a tropical forest in Rio de Janeiro suffered a blow on Tuesday with the release of a report that pointed to numerous "mistakes" and "omissions."
However, the report by the Rio state environmental protection agency INEA said it would be possible to build the race track "in other places displaying less complex ecological characteristics, with less impact on biodiversity."
The report is a crucial barometer for the commission that must decide whether or not to grant an environmental license to Rio Motorsports, the investment company hoping to build the track.
The environmental licence is the last remaining obstacle preventing the start of a project that has the support of Rio Mayor Marcelo Crivella and far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, but has been opposed by six-time world champion Lewis Hamilton.
The report states: "The numerous mistakes or omissions in the environmental impact study have generated uncertainties ... regarding the environmental impact" of the project, which has also faced opposition from ecologists.
Rio Motorsports declined to comment to AFP on the report "before the conclusion of the process."
According to the SOS Floresta Camboata environmental collective, the project would require close to 180,000 trees in a tropical forest to be cut down.
Rio has been included in a provisional race calendar for the 2021 season, according to the Motorsports.com website, pending the granting of the environmental licence.
Until last year, the Brazil Grand Prix was held at the Interlagos circuit in Sao Paulo but that contract ran out this year.
The 2020 Grand Prix was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"I heard it is potentially going to be a sustainable race," said Hamilton earlier this month.
"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."
Rio De Janeiro, Brasil | AFP