A huge fire has destroyed a large part of the facilities at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit in Argentina, home to the Argentinean round of MotoGP. The fire started in the early hours of Saturday morning, and damaged the building housing the pit garages. Fortunately there were no casualties.
According to a statement released by Héctor Farina, Director General of the circuit, the fire destroyed the pit complex, the media center, the VIP rooms, and Race Control. Other buildings, including the automotive museum, control tower, medical center, and offices were not damaged to any significant extent.
The statement went on to thank the firefighters, police, and circuit staff who tackled the blaze, despite the substantial danger posed by high winds which were fanning the flames.
The circuit facilities are covered by insurance, Farina stated, but the damage was so extensive that it will take some time to recover and rebuild. Farina concluded by saying the circuit would be working toward preparing for the MotoGP round already postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and provisionally scheduled for a date to be decided in November.
The chances of holding the 2021 MotoGP round in Argentina were already virtually zero thanks to the pandemic. The destruction of the garages and other facilities make it even more likely to be canceled completely.
The Termas de Rio Hondo circuit is loved by fans and riders for its layout, but its remote location make it less well-liked by the teams. There have been rumors that the circuit is likely to be dropped in favor of the San Juan Villicum circuit used by the WorldSBK series instead. That circuit has better facilities, and is more easily accessible. The fire at Termas is only likely to accelerate any such moves.
Below is a Twitter thread with footage of the blaze at the circuit, from Argentinian journalist Leonardo Regueira:
AHORA | Fuerte incendio en el Autódromo de Termas de Río Hondo. Trabajan varias dotaciones de bomberos. Zona de VIP, sala de prensa, cabinas de transmisión y todo el sector boxes. Intentan que no llegue el fuego al Museo Juan Manuel Fangio. Tristes imágenes llegan desde el lugar pic.twitter.com/0gz9XX2LtX
— Leonardo Regueira (@RegueiraLeo) February 6, 2021