There is a robust possibility that Formula 1 will return to the Autódromo do Algarve, in Portimão, for the season 2021. According to the official Formula 1 website, the F1 Commission agreed that Portimão is “the preferred option to fill” the vacant slot on May 2nd, in what will be the third race of the season.
Covid and other changes
The original calendar included races in Melbourne on March 21st, in Bahrain on March 28th, in China on April 11th and in Vietnam on April 25th. Meanwhile, the pandemic’s course made for the Aussie race to be postponed (rather than cancelled, like it happened last year) and the Chinese one to be cancelled. The Vietnamese event had a strong question mark over it, not only because of the pandemic but also because of a political and legal problem involving the race’s local promoter. (It’s unlikely that the Vietnam Grand Prix will ever be held.)
The Asian races’ cancellation opened slots for two European ones, just like it happened last year. There will be an extra race in Italy and, undoubtedly, another in Portugal.
Discussing with the promoter
details are being discussed with the Algarvian promoter. The cost for staging up the race will likely be a topic of contention, as it has been spread that only with state support could the event go ahead, especially if it’s going to be held on closed doors. The Portuguese government will likely be interested in the advertising brought by the event, although there may be some political resistance to public funding. However, likely, F1 won’t charge too much for it, given the circumstances’ exceptional nature.
The drivers and the teams unanimously enjoyed the circuit and the facilities at last year’s race, which as gone into history as the one where Lewis Hamilton clinched the all-time Grand Prix wins record, achieving his 92nd and surpassing the 91 wins of Michael Schumacher. Returning to Algarve had to be a no-brainer for the “Continental Circus”.