Portimão ‘F1 Heineken Grand Prix Portugal’ promises “at least €30 million” for economy plus 5000 spectators

The long-awaited return of Formula 1 racing to Portugal – this time to be hosted by Portimão’s Algarve International Autodrome (AIA) – promises to bring in “at least €30 million” for the economy and play out in front of a minimum of 5,000 spectators.

Radiant autodrome CEO Paulo Pinheiro, who has been working to clinch this fixture for years, believes revenue from ‘F1 Heineken Grand Prix Portugal’ could top €100,000, and spectator numbers could increase too.

“We’re working on the basis of 5,000 to start with”, he told tabloid Correio da Manhã yesterday when the news that Portimão has been chosen as a venue was finally officially confirmed. “But this could stretch to 50,000 (which translates as 50% of the autodrome’s capacity)”.

Tickets are already on sale for prices that range from €85 to €650. 

Says CM, the autodrome’s site ‘crashed’ yesterday due to the level of interest. It is back up now and can be accessed here

Grand Prix Portugal will take place between Friday October 23 – Sunday October 25.

This is the first time a F1 event will have been held in Portugal since 1996 in Estoril.

Says CM, Paulo Pinheiro hasn’t “revealed the costs involved” in attracting the races to Portimão but secretary of state for tourism Rita Marques has stressed that Turismo de Portugal has an agreement with AIA to finance the resurfacing of the track – an undertaking that will cost an estimated €1.5 million.

Portimão mayor Isilda Gomes has said the municipality will be helping towards this cost with a payment of 200,000.

Say reports, beyond the many thousands of spectators, the F1 entourages will involve “roughly 10,000 people” in various capacities – from those working with the individual teams, to logistical support and the press corps.

Said Rita Marques, “in the worst hypotheses” the races should have an economic impact of €30 million. Paulo Pinheiro however is much more ‘gung ho’, expecting more than triple this amount.

News that F1 has ‘chosen’ Portimão followed the cancellation of various fixtures planned elsewhere due to the pandemic.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com