autodromo estoril

Formula One heading back to Estoril?

Formula One races may be returning to Estoril racetrack. Confirmation came from the President of the Portuguese Federation of Automobile and Karting (FPAK) after news that Estoril autodrome had received a Super Licence – the highest class of racing licence issued by the FIA (Federation Internationale de l’Automobile).
Manuel Mello Breyner confirmed that FPAK would now attempt to make Estoril a test track for Formula One drivers.

But he admitted organising a Grand Prix event is complicated.
“Is Portugal willing to cover the costs of organising a Grand Prix Formula One race?,” he questioned, adding that these races cost “a lot of money”.
Another complication is the globalisation of the races – which has reduced the number that take place within Europe.
“I don’t know if organisers will give up an international race to organise one in Europe,” he said, which is why the FPAK president has his eye set firmly on testing.
“Now that we have the licence, we will try to bring testing over to Portugal.”

Breyner believes that with Portugal’s “usually excellent climate” during the months of January, February and March – when many European countries are locked in cold and gloom – the prospect of attracting testing events is “realistic”.

He also revealed the Estoril racetrack has been receiving many requests for international events. National scheduled races will not be affected, he stressed.
Between 1984 and 1996, Estoril autodrome hosted 13 Formula One Grand Prix races, but subsequent strict safety rules stripped the circuit of its ‘Grand Prix’ status. Until now, that is.

As we’re repeatedly told Portugal is driving out of the recession, Estoril could at last be driving back towards the glory days.