“Advanced talks” underway to bring F1 back to Portimão in May

The president of the Portuguese Federation of Motorsports and Karting (FPAK) has revealed that “advanced talks” are underway to bring an F1 race back to the Algarve International Racetrack in Portimão in May.

However, the decision will depend on whether “spectators will be allowed to attend, as it will only make sense with spectators in the stands, and if the government wants it,” Ni Amorim told Lusa news agency on Tuesday.

The plan is for the Portuguese Grand Prix to replace the Chinese Grand Prix, which is set to be postponed at the request of its promoter.

The Algarve International Racetrack hosted an F1 race in October, for the first time.

But unlike last year when Portugal was invited to be a part of the F1 GP calendar due to the cancellations of many races around the world as a result of the pandemic, this year there is an “enrollment fee”.

“The 2020 Portuguese Grand Prix generated extraordinary revenue and the data is already in the hands of the government. But we understand that there are other priorities at the moment, and we haven’t been able to discuss the subject yet,” said Amorim.

He refused to comment further as he said these agreements are “confidential”.

Still, the federation president said that the racetrack’s bosses are in “daily contact” with the F1 race organisers and that he is “optimistic” about the possibility of Portugal hosting an F1 race for the 18th time.

“I am a moderate optimist. In May, we can be in a position (to host the race) due to the lockdown that is starting now and the vaccinations which are happening daily,” he told Expresso newspaper.

“It is natural that in three or four months we can have a completely different situation from the one we have now. If that is the case, then we will be in a position to host the Grand Prix,” Amorim added, stressing however that how Portugal emerges from the lockdown will affect what will happen in March, April and May.

A final decision is expected by the end of February or mid-March “at the latest”.

michael.bruxo@algarveresident.com