Formula 1 is returning to Portugal this autumn, as the championship makes its Algarve debut at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve in Portimao, on the weekend of October 23-25. The last time Portugal hosted a Grand Prix was 24 years ago at Estoril near Lisbon.
There may even be a crowd to witness the race, enthuses Portugal’s tourism minister Rita Marques. “There will be spectators. We are working on a number of scenarios depending on the health situation.” The capacity of the venue is 100,000.
The deal follows the cancellation of F1 events in United States, Mexico, Brazil, and Canada later this year.
In a revised F1 calendar, the Portuguese GP takes place two weeks after the Eifel Grand Prix at Germany’s Nurburgring. From the Algarve, the F1 circus heads to the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari in Imola for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, which is being staged as a two-day event.
It’s hoped that the revised Formula 1 2020 schedule will see between 15 to 18 races, before ending in the Gulf region mid-December.
The last time Portugal hosted a Grand Prix was 24 years ago at Estoril near Lisbon. There may even be spectators to witness the race…
“We are delighted and proud of this decision,” says João Fernandes, President of Algarve Tourism. “It’s a prestigious international sporting event that we have been very keen to have back for a long time.”
Fernandes cites the efforts of the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve, the Municipality of Portimão and Algarve Tourism, and the relevant authorities, for making the event possible.
“As a result of this collaboration, it was possible to transform a crisis into an opportunity. We were able to demonstrate that this is a safe destination, with a set of infrastructures to support a high quality and diversified tourist offering that enriches the stay of visitors, and that meets the necessary requirements for the safety and health of motorsport fans. This is, without a doubt, a very positive endorsement of confidence for the region”.
The arrival of arguably one of the most glamorous sporting fixtures to the Algarve should prove a lifeline for tourism in the region.
In terms of direct revenue from the organisation and spectators, it could bring as much as 40 million euros to the region, but the economic impact could be double that.
Built at a cost of just under 200m Euros in 2008, the Portimao circuit was designed by Ricardo Pina, and has hosted the World Superbike and FIA GT Championships. The track has been certified as an FIA Grade 1 circuit for over a decade.