No one argues that Brazil remains a favorite spot for Formula One fans, pilots and teams. The Brazilian Grand Prix (Grande Prêmio do Brasil) is a championship race that occurs at the Autódromo José Carlos Pace in Interlagos, a district in the city of São Paulo, Brazil. Every year, thousands of people from around the world gather in Sao Paulo for the big event.
But according to newspaper Folha, usual key attractions for international fans visiting Brazil such as long nights in bars, steak houses (churrascarias) dining, shopping sprees and traveling, are no longer what they used to be. The acceleration of inflation in Brazil and the currency appreciation against foreign currencies like the dollar made the race in Sao Paulo, which has always been considered one of the cheapest to become the most expensive.
The price of tickets and race accessories is higher than in Europe or Asia. Today, fans pay less to see the GP of Spain, Malaysia or China, than to watch the race at Interlagos.
“I remember that three, four years ago, we went almost every evening to “churrascarias” to eat and drink “caipirinhas” without even worrying about the bill. Today it no longer works like that,” says the spaniard Carlos Miquel, a reporter at newspaper “La Gaceta”.
Among the biggest complaints from visitors this time are the high prices of hotels, transportation, and services in general. “I arrived in Sao Paulo a few days before the event and decided to go to the hairdresser to make my hair. I was shocked to see that prices are the same as Europe,” complains Samira Zoum, a Belgian who lives in Spain and works as a waitress for Red Bull. “I’ve never been to Brazil before, but hoped that things were a bit cheaper,” she says. She also gave up buying bikinis and shoes after seeing their prices at the mall.
“Things in general are more expensive. Last year it was not like this. Especially, taxi fares. It is now twice as expensive as it used to be,” says Mauricio Sanchez, one of the engineers of racing team Toro Rosso.
It’s not just Europeans who complain. For Japanese also, Brazil has become very expensive. “Last year, the hotel I stayed at next to the airport cost R$50. This year is R$100,” says Kunio Shibata, a journalist who comes to Brazil to cover the F-1 since 1991.
The complaints of foreigners visiting Brazil is supported by research firm Mercer. In their 2011 study, Sao Paulo appears as the 10th most expensive city in the world for foreigners. In 2010, it was the 21st.