The tickets sales for the two big international racing events of this Algarvian autumn, Formula One and MotoGP, are going well. The events will be limited by the measures needed to restrain the pandemic. Nonetheless, the demand has been quite high.
The Autódromo do Algarve, near Portimão, was inaugurated in 2008. It has never before hosted F1 or MotoGP races and will be hosting them due to pandemic situation that forced the organisers to look for more European races. This means less travelling, reducing costs and the possibility for contagion. But Portimão was also chosen as Algarve has been regarded as COVID safe destination, since the beginning. The autodrome has a capacity for hosting 92,000 people in the stands.
More than 40,000 people expected
Regarding the Formula 1 Grand Prix, the autodrome is expecting to have more than 40,000 visitors. Until now, the regulations in place say that big events could host half of the total capacity. Each event could get 46,000 visitors.
On late August, the autodrome had already sold 31,000 tickets for the Formula One race. The demand for the MotoGP was even higher, although fewer tickets have been put to sale. The MotoGP championship has Spain as one of its main markets. Of the 14 races staged in 2020, 7 were or will be in Spain; the Algarve race puts the majority of the events in the Iberian Peninsula.
Chance of ‘closed doors’?
Paulo Pinheiro, the director of the Autódromo do Algarve, acknowledged that a worsening situation of the pandemic could force the races to be staged behind closed doors. This has been the rule for racing and other sporting events throughout Europe since the Spring. If that happens, the tickets money will naturally be returned to the buyers. But that is something that everyone must be counting with, during these times – can’t stop us of planning, acting and moving on.