Formula One returned to Portugal in 2020, to the Algarve International Racetrack, after a 24-year absence from the Championship following the reorganisation of the calendars due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We are very excited to announce that Formula 1 will once again race in Portimao, following the huge success of the race last year. We would like to thank the promoter and the Portuguese Government for their hard work and dedication in bringing the race back to Portugal,” said Formula 1 President and CEO Stefano Domenicali.
The president of the Portuguese Car and Karting Federation (FPAK), on the same day, said he was “very pleased” with the announcement of the Formula 1 Portuguese Grand Prix, trusting that it can be maintained in the future.
“The FPAK is very pleased to the extent that, when there was the last Grand Prix in Portugal, in 2020, we always said we would fight for the Grand Prix not to be just a replacement but to be in its own right on the Formula 1 World calendar,” said Ni Amorim, in statements to Lusa Agency.
Ni Amorim said he had worked, “together with the Government, in conjunction with the AIA, so that conditions could be met for there to be a Grand Prix in 2021”.
“The most difficult part has been done. Now it is important to gather the conditions to have the public in attendance. Portugal is in a difficult economic situation and events such as Formula 1 will be very important for a region that lives on tourism,” he stressed.
Also the Association of Hoteliers and Similar Industries of the Algarve (AHISA) welcomed the announcement of the Portuguese Grand Prix in Portimão in May and praised the work done to ensure it.
“The efforts of all involved are to be commended and we are grateful that fortunately, in the current context, we have the opportunity to once again host this unique event of great value,” the vice-president of the Algarve Hotel and Similar Industries Association (AHISA) told Lusa.
For the hotelier, the indirect effects for the image of the Algarve “are phenomenal” and he recalled the results obtained in last year’s edition, “even more so with the attendance of the public”, he stressed, hoping for a similar result in this year’s edition.
The possibility of this year’s event having an audience is seen as “ideal”, something that provides a “different kind of involvement” for the participants, but it is an option that requires “evaluating the pros and cons with due care”, he noted.
In an evaluation of the previous year’s edition, even “with some not so happy situations”, he defended that it generated a “very positive” international image and, from what was publicly known, “there were no transmission chains” resulting from the Grand Prix in Portugal, a “positive” final result that he highlighted.
The administrator of the International Autodrome of the Algarve (AIA), Paulo Pinheiro, expressed his belief that, “if the situation of the pandemic continues to evolve favourably”, the World Championship race, scheduled for 2 May, will be attended by the public.
“It was worth the effort of the Algarve Autodrome, the Algarve Tourism Board, the Portuguese Tourism Board and the Portimao [City] Council to bring this great race that is a stage to show that the destination is open and that it is safe,” the president of the Algarve Tourism Region told Lusa.
In relation to the possibility of there being attendance in the stands, João Fernandes revealed that “it would be great news for the Algarve”, but that he is cautious.
He also assumed that one has to “wait for the guidelines” of the General Direction of Health (DGS) and that it is necessary, until then, “to evaluate the conditions” so that “there may be an audience”.