/Portimão race track becomes FIA top level

Portimão race track becomes FIA top level

Portimão race track becomes FIA top level

Last week, The Portimão race track was granted “grade 1” level by the International Automobile Federation (FIA). This means that the Algarvian autodrome can now host a Formula One Grand Prix race.

Paulo Pinheiro, board director of the circuit that once received Lewis Hamilton and McLaren for winter testing was delighted. Speaking to the media, Pinheiro said that work has been done since the changes requested by the late Charlie Whiting, F1 Safety Delegate of the FIA.

Formula 1 stalled on the grid due to Covid-19

For obvious reasons, the 2020 F1 season start was delayed. All races until the end of May have been cancelled or postponed. Decades have passed since a season started so late in the year, and there is not yet a prediction about when could start. 

Bernie Ecclestone, the former and historical F1 supremo, even hinted the season could be cancelled altogether. But that’s hardly going to happen, as the business is incurring in huge losses and can’t afford to stop. (And Bernie Ecclestone has no more responsibilities in the sport.)

Getting ready for the near future

Formula 1 is taking swift measures. After years of delayed negotiations, F1 teams are now agreeing with a budget cap, defending all of them from bankruptcy. Some say the Silverstone circuit could host two races in the same; others that a Grand Prix could be held in two days, rather than three as it is today.

F1 teams are based in Europe, and the sport is mainly a European one. There are serious rumours that most of the races of the 2020 season could be held in Europe, avoiding the expenses and the hassle of intercontinental trips. The Italian tracks of Mugello and Imola have already announced that they’re ready to receive F1. 

This means the news from Portimão are great for the track and the region. The business model of a Grand Prix of Portugal raced in Algarve is by now totally unclear, but it is a definite possibility. Either for 2020 or 2021. And that would be, certainly, an important show to bring the world’s attention to Algarve.

MotoGP is also a possibility

Aside from Formula 1, Portimão is also eyeing hosting a MotoGP race. Although the chances are that is not going to happen, Portimão is considered a “reserve track” by the International Federation of Motorcycling (FIM), whose president is the Portuguese Jorge Viegas. Spain is passionate about motorcycling, hosting 4 MotoGP races per year; another race in the Iberian Peninsula would be a success.