F1: Algarve in talks to replace Russian Grand Prix

Portugal is among a small number of countries that are being linked with the possibility of replacing Russia on the 2022 F1 calendar.

The Algarve International Racetrack (AIA) in Portimão is being pitched as one of the strongest candidates to host the replacement GP, having already done so twice in 2020 and 2021.

The Russian Grand Prix, which was due to take place in Sochi on September 25, has been cancelled due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

However, F1 bosses are already looking for alternative venues and have gone on the record saying the Covid-19 pandemic has left them well-prepared for short-term alterations to the calendar.

Paulo Pinheiro from Parkalgar, which manages the Portimão racetrack, told Correio da Manhã tabloid that AIA is “in talks with F1 organisers to host the replacement event”. He added that the decision is “dependent on logistical matters”.

Turkey and Germany are being suggested as the other viable alternatives. The Algarve is being seen as a strong possibility due to its proximity to Italy, which will host the Italian Grand Prix on September 11. This means drivers and teams would not have to travel a long distance for the next race.

However, the drawback is that the next GP will be in Singapore, meaning that Turkey and Germany may be “cheaper” alternatives as they are closer to the next hosting country, CM adds.

Hosting an F1 GP also requires a hefty investment from the organising country which will also play a role in the decision. However, Paulo Pinheiro believes that the economic return from hosting such a major sports event makes up for the investment.

“If organisers choose Portimão’s racetrack, it will be an excellent addition to the race calendar that is scheduled for AIA, which includes the MotoGP Grand Prix on April 24 with Portuguese rider Miguel Oliveira,” Pinheiro said.

michael.bruxo@algarveresident.com