Formula 1 returns to Portugal
Formula 1 racing is to return to Portugal after an absence of 24 years.
By Michael Bruxo – Algarve Resident
The announcement was made last week by Portimão Mayor Isilda Gomes who said that the event could be a life-saver for the Algarve’s economy shattered by Covid-19.
Portimão’s Algarve International Racetrack has been officially confirmed as the venue for the ‘F1 Heineken Grand Prix Portugal,’ which will take place between Friday, October 23 and Sunday, October 25.
Estimates around how much the event could generate have varied between €30 million in the worst case scenario to as much as €100 million in an optimistic view.
Spectator numbers are still being decided, but at least 5,000 people are expected to be in the stands, with the possibility of the numbers increasing to 50,000 people (around half of the race track’s capacity).
Tickets are already for sale on the racetrack’s website (https://autodromodoalgarve.com).
What’s certain is that the announcement has brought a ray of hope to a region that has been bombarded by the negative affects of the pandemic and which have only been made worse by the British Government’s insistence on keeping Portugal off its travel corridor.
Indeed, local leaders are stressing that Portimão and the Algarve would not have been chosen as the venue for such a huge sports event if it weren’t a safe destination and believe the event will play a huge role in persuading foreigners to come here.
“We are expecting this month of October to compare to the month of July in 2019,” said Isilda Gomes.
“We are a tourism destination of excellence which is why we have to show the world our potential and I am certain we will host a great race,” added the Portimão mayor.
And on the question as to whether Portugal is safe to visit, the racetracks CEO Paulo Pinheiro said, “We felt we needed to use our arguments that Portugal is in a better sanitary situation than most of Europe, that we have a better race track than others and that the Algarve has unmatchable conditions.”