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Doubts remain over Brazil's F1 future despite wet-weather classic

NELSON ALMEIDA/AFP/Getty Images

Doubts remain over the long-term future of the Brazilian Grand Prix despite delivering a classic wet-weather race on Sunday.

After multiple safety car periods and race stoppages a thrilling race unfolded at Interlagos, capped by Lewis Hamilton's dominant win and Max Verstappen's lauded drive from 16th to 3rd. The popular circuit has a contract until 2020 but had an asterix alongside it when the provisional 2017 calendar was revealed in September.

The other races listed as 'subject to confirmation' were Canada and Germany, though the former appears to have been given a boost following the signing of Lance Stroll by Williams.

"I think we may well be able to sort Canada out, possibly, but the other two..." Ecclestone told Reuters with a shrug during the Brazilian Grand Prix.

As part of the existing contract, Interlagos made upgrades to the cramped pits and paddock area but Ecclestone has hinted this might not be enough.

"They've done a good job, but it needed to be done," Ecclestone added.

According to Associated Press, race organisers fear the event's deficit could increase from $4 to $10 million dollars next year due to the loss of key sponsors. The loss of Brazilian mainstay Felipe Massa, who has competed in Formula One since 2002, is also expected to hurt the event next year, with no guarantees Felipe Nasr will be driving in 2017 either.

Race promoter Tamas Rohonyi told AP: "If we can't bring sponsors back, then Formula One Management would have to cover that gap. That is why Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone is worried."