Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso, Algarve, 2009

Portuguese GP may be revived at Algarve

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: The Portuguese Grand Prix may return to the F1 calendar for the first time in over two decades as the Algarve circuit is looking into a deal.

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Is there a chance Robert Kubica might be about to make a return?

I don’t get emotional about sports very much anymore, but if he comes back, a) my mind will be blown and b) I do believe I may cry just a little.

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On this day in F1

  • Piero Taruffi won the Ulster Trophy on the formidable Dubdrod course today in 1952

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  • 47 comments on “Portuguese GP may be revived at Algarve”

    1. Michael Brown (@)
      7th June 2017, 0:21

      I hope if Algarve becomes an F1 circuit they don’t use the Bahrain-style first corner.

      1. Agreed, though they probably will. I also hope they use the faster final corner (the wide, arcing one rather than the awkward double apex thing) but again, they will probably use the latter.

    2. Liberty’s Vision; Liberty certainly have a problem, they have to monetise their investment, they have to keep their core fanbase, and they have to attract new fans. Attracting new fans will require more free viewing opportunities, but even more so it will require better racing, core fans may well be dizzy with delight after the Monaco GP result for Ferrari and what it promises for the rest of the season and many may have found the tactics used to work around tyre wear deeply satisfying, but what would a couple of 10 year-olds watching a replay on a rainy weekend have made of it ? Monaco, but also most other races under these rules, is a procession of cars spaced about 2 seconds apart apparently driving well within the limit of their ability, not exciting, not memorable and definitely not compelling. If F1 is to have a future it must find a way for the cars to be much closer together on the track and right at the limit of control. MotoGP is the race model F1 should be studying if it wants to attract and hold those 10 year-olds.

      1. what would a couple of 10 year-olds watching a replay on a rainy weekend have made of it ? Monaco

        I’m a bit more optimistic @hohum.
        (the guys at) Liberty already show they understand it and for instance their YouTube channel has more than 20 new videos including Race highlights, Onboard videos (interesting for the 10yo, their big brothers and their fathers), heroes, historic clashes, and a bit of glitz and glamour.
        This is likely more exciting to a 10yo than a 2 minute recap of a nil-all football match ;)

        1. @f1-liners – If we’re going to compare the 2 sports, I just had an email from the football club I support stating that anyone under 11 is entitled to a FREE season ticket providing they are accompanied by an adult season ticket holder. Compare that to “we don’t care if kids watch F1 because they aren’t going to buy a Rolex” and you can why we are where we are.

          In order to attract kids to the sport, it has to be exciting for them. For the last few years (thankfully, things are starting to change…) we’ve had 18 grey cars cruising around slowly saving their tyres whilst making less noise than my Ford Focus with another 2 grey cars out front arguing over the radio about who was allowed to win.

          When I started watching as a kid, I loved listening to Murray Walker. We used to race bicycles around where I lived commentating over it in Murray Walker’s voice and making the high pitched engines noises. Has anyone seen any kids playing pretending to be Crofty whilst humming like a lawnmower?

          F1 is different things to different people. Some love the technical side of the sport and that shouldn’t be taken away from them but there has to be something else for the casual fans and kids to enjoy.

      2. It’s not really clear if Liberty’s ‘digital service’ is just live timing or normal TV production, or both?

      3. @hohum I don’t disagree with what you are saying but I just think we all know it as does Liberty. It’s year one of a big new chapter. The cars are drastically different and BE is gone and Pirelli barely had proper testing for the new chapter so had to go conservative. Brawn is already saying the right things about the future. As far as I’m concerned it’s onward and upward. I’m too excited about these new cars and the potential for the future to car right now that they struggle in dirty air. They’ve been doing that for years. Better days ahead, I’ve no doubt.

    3. I would love to see Algarve make the calendar. I’ve driven around it and it’s one of the most frightening/ frustrating tracks I’ve had the pleasure of lapping. Half corners are either crested or have blind apexes or exits. if you forget where yo are and try to go into a corner with conviction, there’s a good chance you’re going off. I have the utmost respect for anyone who can set a decent lap time.

      P.S. I remember watching the 2008 Canadian GP and seeing Kubica’s car disintegrate around him as he ricocheted of the walls heading into the hairpin… I was sure I just watched somebody die. If he makes a comeback and doesn’t earn the nick name Robert ‘T-1000’ Kubica I’d be surprised. I’ve always been routing for him, sure not going to stop now.

      1. That was the 2007 race, Kubica won the 2008 race

        1. ah, typo. Good eye.

    4. It’s great to hear that Kubica has been driving an F1 car at last, but we have known for some time that he was able to. But the question is, would he be able to achieve the same level of competitiveness as before? I’m not so sure, given the severity of the injuries he sustained. And considering he’s 32 now, he’s maybe got 2-3 more years close to the top of his game. Moreover, unfortunately, pay drivers are as prominent as ever, and although I may be incorrect, Kubica doesn’t bring much sponsorship money, making an F1 return still perhaps unlikely even in the event of a recovery, although I still do believe he’s better than a lot of drivers out there.

    5. Dundrod* Keith

      1. Aye, Dundrod. The Ulster Grand Prix for motorbikes is still held there every year.

    6. Why Is that car always referred to as an e20, also when xmattyg drove It? The e21 had the little inlets next to the airbox.
      Also i hate this habit of repainting, redecalling and rebodykitting the old Cars. Just Scrap the testing ban if you can’t get it right.

      1. Fukobayashi (@)
        7th June 2017, 10:04

        But the testing ban is not up to the teams so how can they scrap it? And why would Renault run a car that they now own with another team’s name and sponsors?

      2. As @offdutyrockstar had said, I don’t believe you have thought about this much…

    7. As a Portuguese today’s round-up makes me very happy. I know Estorial would have a bigger historic impact, but the circuit isn’t to the required standards, also it sits very close to Lisbon, and that would be a logistic nightmare. Portimao on the other hand is a pratically brand new circuit, it is placed already where the tourists are and the track seems to be quite fun

      I can also testify for our passion, pretty much everything that runs on wheels we love it, just check the MotoGP or WRC attendances, hell we even fill the roads for the Portuguese tour, which is a 2nd grade cycling event. I am sure it will be no different with F1 (plenty of fans around here still) and the atmosphere will be amazing if this materialises, we have been waiting for a long time now, if we can’t have a driver a GP will be the next best thing.

      Portugal has been recovering lately, and it is even hard to believe that the government has been doing a good job, especially taking into account how they won the elections. They still have to be cautious, it has to make sense economic wise, ticket prices too otherwise it will be difficult to make it a success

      1. Great to hear from you. But I don’t understand this point about Estoril “It sits very close to Lisbon, and that would be a logistic nightmare”. Surely, being close to a large city is good, not bad?

        1. It would disrupt the city flow, good for F1, pretty bad for the people living there. A lot of people also work on saturdays and sundays and have to commute from Estoril and Cascais to go to Lisbon or Oeiras.

          Parking and access to the circuit would also be difficult, while at Algarve the infrastructures were planned with the current needs in mind.

          Lisbon is also involved in a large project currently in order to prohibit cars in the city center and make public transportation completly free, any obstacles in this study and possible implementation of the project could create a major setback.

          1. Although, if they managed to arrange most of it with public transport (looking at Mexico City), that would be a huge success @johnmilk.

            But yeah, it’s been over 2 decades i was there now (not counting transferring through the airport), but i think I agree with your judgement that the area around Estoril would not really work for F1. For the Algarve it could really boost new visitors coming round (especially since Brexit might hurt UK visitor numbers in the coming years) and help give the Portuguese economy that kickstart to go from decent recovery to solid.

            If the numbers add up, I think it would be a good addition. And it might bring F1 testing to the track as well

            1. @bascb that is spot on, both on the GP and hopefully the economy as well. I don’t know if it transpires in the news around Europe, but the atmosphere around Portugal is quite positive, and investors are coming in again. It is so encouraging that I managed to move back from July on. We just have to keep the momentum going and keep solving our problems, we are carefully optimist (Portuguese are never full on optimistic).

              The only benefit now compared to when you were there (I think), is that you can catch the subway at the airport and then change to a train that will put you in Estoril. The biggest problem around that area will be for the people that will travel from all around the country and will want to be there by car (Lisbon is right in the middle of the country and very well connected, you can be there quite quickly even if you are right up north or south). Also that area has the best beaches in Lisbon, and we can all agree that the weather in Portugal will invite to pay a visit to them, if during the weekend it is chaos already, I don’t even want to imagine during a GP weekend.

              I’m getting too excited already, I just hope it goes forward.

            2. Yeah, good news about the metro @johnmilk! And yes, I did actually get the first reports that the economy in Portugal is really starting to pick up pace in the last year

      2. “As a Portuguese today’s round-up makes me very happy”. Me too!!!

        I first saw the news on the portuguese Autosport and I was like “yeah, right…” And then I came here and the same news!? Really, really happy! Hope it becomes a reality!

        Now if only we could get Da Costa on the grid..! :D

        1. I only gave it some credit because it was on :D And then I read it here too…

          Great news then! Fingers crossed!!!

        2. @gordess I’m afraid that ship has sailing a long time ago unfortunately. Do we have anyone now? Henrique Chaves?

          If it is a one of thing, we could have Monteiro for all I care

          1. @johnmilk It has, but one can always dream! But unfortunately, I don’t we’ll havy any contenders for an F1 seat for the next decade or two (at least!)…

            1. are we really that low on talent currently @gordess?

              I guess I will have to raise one, ah!

        3. Rui (@ruicaridade)
          7th June 2017, 10:30


      3. Portimao is a very good modern circuit; and Estoril isn’t the circuit it used to be.

    8. I agree with Sir Jackie that Stroll needs time, but I’d say he needs time outside of F1.

      His F1 move was rushed, he wasn’t ready and it shows. That’s why people criticize him. That’s why he should be a test/reserve driver at best or gain more experience in one of the feeder series.

      1. I don’t see how anyone can disagree with this. His jump into the sport was far, far too soon for him (certainly not for all teenagers – *ahem* Max *ahem”) and in my opinion the criticism is entirely justified.

        I do feel slightly sorry for him, but he needed at the very least a season in Formula Two and a good few Young Driver F1 tests before making his debut.

        1. As I posted yesterday on this, I agree with JS. To say he needed this or that is premature, and is using hindsight, not to mention the horse has already left the barn. He IS in F1. He WILL have more time and that may be all he needs. F1 has just made drastic changes and the tires aren’t quite optimum because just as Lance had barely any time in a current car before the season began, neither did Pirelli. Rarely does a rookie enter under these circumstances and they are circumstances that were a bit of a mystery to everyone before this season began.

          1. @Robbie – is your last name Stroll? :-)

            I think we agree to disagree on this one – Stroll is occupying a competitive seat that countless 19-24 y/o’s have grafted for in the lower series and have been robbed of it because of Mr. Stroll’s millions.

            By declaring himself ready for Formula One, he should also be prepared to accept the criticism that comes with failure.

            Sure – he may well improve, maybe considerably, but at the moment he is not good enough and shouldn’t be here.

            1. @ben-n Lol, no relation to the Stroll’s. If there was, maybe I’d be occupying one of the seats, ha ha.

              Yes we can agree to disagree. I don’t at all see this as LS declaring himself ready for F1 and therefore it was so. Many people inside Williams had to come together on this. You’re making it sound like all that happened is that Lance went whining to his Dad for a blank cheque or something and Williams didn’t even play a role.

              I’m simply not convinced that another driver would be doing much better, and it’s moot anyway. He’s there. He’ll have time. And we’ll just have to see.

              Don’t get me wrong…I’m all for F1 heading back toward having only the very best drivers possible right down the grid, teams not needing them to pay for their ride. In Lance’s case he has proven at least something prior to F1, so it’s not all just about Dad’s money. The guy you would rather have sitting in that seat had a lot of money spent on him too, to get him to F1 level, even if not by his Dad. And…I’m sure Lawrence’s money is helping Massa, ie. the whole team too, not just Lance.

        2. Great comments from both. But I’m going to play Stroll’s advocate here.

          On the other side of the spectrum you have Vandoorne. Performed well in pretty much every category he competed in up till F1. He should’ve been ready for his fulltime seat. But even if the Honda is working he’s mostly a bit behind Alonso. Don’t get me wrong, Alonso is a different caliber than Massa, but his ”no looking” mistake in Spain and his crash in Monaco while in the points didn’t help.

      2. @maroonjack – Spot on. People saying that he’s only young and needs more time to get used to F1 are misunderstanding the complaints against Stroll. There are lots of drivers out there who don’t need time to get used to F1 – they just need a seat but they can’t get one because people like Stroll pay money to take their place.

        1. @petebaldwin I’ll take that as a friendly shot across my bow, lol.

          So you’ve taken the conversation away from Stroll himself or more specifically his Dad, and are actually addressing the issue we’ve debated a lot, for many years now. Should F1 be in a state, and what are they doing about it, such that teams do not need drivers with money to inject some into their team?

          Yes it is unfortunate that pay drivers are crucial sometimes. Perhaps Liberty will eventually be able to do something about it, and I predict they will. For now Williams has chosen to accept the Strolls and their money. Is that Lance’s fault? Is there some guarantee that another rookie would be doing better? Or a non-rookie even?

          This is how the chips have landed. The issue of pay drivers is not on Lance to solve. Your gripe about another theoretically better driver not being in Lance’s seat needs be taken up with Williams and F1.

          1. @Robbie – I agree with you. It’s down to F1 and Liberty to sort out the problem of pay drivers however my issue isn’t really with pay drivers specifically…. All drivers are where they are because of money! Most people don’t ever get the chance start their racing careers in karts because of a lack of money and from the group that do, very few ever get to try out an open-wheeled car competitively. You’re not talking about the “best in the world”, you’re talking about the “best of a very small and privileged group.”

            My issue is with incompetent racing drivers in F1, not the route they took to get there. I spend my time and money watching F1 because I want to see the best drivers in the world race against each other – if I want to watch a bunch of kids learning to be future F1 drivers, I’ll watch GP2.

            1. @petebaldwin Yeah I hear you. Your last paragraph too, although for me it is just that I’m not sure anyone knew LS would have the start that he has had. I don’t think he has shown himself to be so incompetent that this can only be a blatant money grab by Williams. A bit more time and patience.

              But as I have said, going hand in hand with what you are saying, perhaps this is a signal that F1 is now harder, like it should be, and going forward an equivalent Stroll will indeed be kept back a year or two for more experience. This might have caught some people by surprise…what I like to think of as a bit of a perfect storm of events for Lance…Max as a comparison who came into cars much easier to drive…Lance’s lack of testing a proper 2017 car ahead of his first ful season….Pirellis giving even the likes of LH grief in terms of getting and keeping them at the right temp, also due to lack of sufficient testing on a proper 2017 car. Ie. If LS entered F1 last year (assuming age and experience was in place) or next year, we might not be having this discussion. He might have impressed us by now.

    9. Lance Stroll
      I’m sorry Jackie I disagree and I actually think Williams are to blame. He is not talented/experienced enough at this point in his career to be tooling around in a F1 car he should be in GP2 a motorsport teir that suits his ability. No other driver with his talent would be in F1 – it took Sainz to be in his twenties to enter F1 there is no shame in being ready. I see this drive paid for with Greed!

    10. I’m very excited about Kubica getting back in an F1 car. I know previously he’s said that he would only do so if he had a reasonable chance of being able to race them again, so this must surely be indicative of that as an intention both from him and Renault.

      However let’s just temper our expectations a little bit. A single day test is a different prospect to driving 20+ GP weekends through a season, plus all the simulator time the drivers are expected to do these days. I’m not doubting Kubica’s quality – I’m sure that he would be able to find most of that form that made him such an exciting talent prior to his accident – but I don’t know whether he would be absolutely the driver he was. I’d be excited to find out of course.

      But also, there must surely be an issue here with his SuperLicense. He can’t still have one, given his lack of racing in feeder series’. Perhaps he could be granted one by exception but… is that actually the right thing to do? I’m excited to see him, because I’ve been an F1 fan for decades. But would new fans care? And how many years would he really have in him, even if he was competitive? There are a finite number of F1 seats in the world, and they don’t become available very often. Would it be better to give that opportunity to a driver at the start of their career?

      I don’t know – it’s an exciting prospect, but i fear in reality it would be a bit of a disappointment.

      1. @mazdachris Kubica said in the aftermath that he had mixed feelings. Happy for the opportunity but also showed what he lost since 2011. He also said that was happy to see that he had good pace (probably a comparison with Sirotkin on the day).

        On the Super License, had he just been on a sabbatical I think that wouldn’t be a problem, but after such a recovery period I have no idea how that stands if I’m honest.

        I’ve been reading the news and some comments around here also, but not paying too much attention to it, I feel he won’t come back, and imagining possible scenarios will only lead to disappointment (I think this is the first time that I’m commenting on the matter actually).

        But would new fans care?

        There aren’t any, JK

        1. @johnmilk Well under the current requirements he would not be eligible for a license – You either have to have accumilated sufficient points in one of the designated feeder series in the three years prior to the application, or had 15 F1 GP starts in the same time period. Kubica can’t claim either of these. I’m sure he could ask for a special waiver given the circumstances, and he does at least meet the requirement for having carried out over 300km of F1 testing at a representative pace, so I think this is likely the intention.

          But whether the FIA would actually grant it, and in fact whether it would be right to do so and deny and up-and-coming racer an opportunity as a result, is another question entirely.

          1. The SuperLicense needs to be purchased anew each year. For those who currently hold one, the requirement is to have covered over 300km at a representative pace in a modern* F1 car in the preceding 180 days, and also to have started at least 15 F1 races in the preceding three years. Clearly, Kubica hasn’t started 15 GPs in the last three years. There is, however, the allowance that a driver who has successfully gained a SuperLicense but hasn’t secured an F1 drive to retain the points which qualified them for the license for a period of up to 3 years.

            So the last time he would have been eligible would have been apoximately three years after the start of the 2010 Monaco GP (he had 15 starts after that, including Monaco). Plus, if we allow a further three years retention, then I think the last time he could reasonably have carried out a test for the mileage and then renewed his license would have been mid-May 2016. That’s if I’m understanding the requirements correctly – the caveat about retention is really about holding onto your points from a feeder series if you find yourself without a drive for three years but I think there’s leeway to apply it to RK’s situation. Clearly though, even with the most generous interpretation of the rules, Robert Kubica is no longer able to just apply for a Super License without asking for special dispensation.

            *There’s no detail on what constitutes a ‘modern’ F1 car, but I think we can reasonably assume that the 2012 car fits the bill.

          2. @mazdachris, that might not be the only issue that he faces though, as he would also have to pass the FIA’s medical procedures.

            One of those procedures includes the need for the driver to evacuate the cockpit within a set time period without any external assistance, which is intended to simulate an emergency event (e.g. if, as happened with Kvyat a few years ago when an oil line ruptured, you had a major fire onboard the car). I have a recollection that, a few years ago, Kubica had practised that test and ended up failing it – if he was struggling with that test, it might be harder to persuade the FIA to exempt him from that.

    11. First Alonso gets to run in the Indy 500, then Kubica has a successful test, now a push to race F1 at Algarve… I must be dreaming! It is like a malevolent presence has finally lifted from the sport I love. I wonder how Bernie is doing?

    12. $10 a month for access to races with no commercials and telemetry data and pre and post race content from Buxton and Matchet and Hobbs and Diffey???… i’d pay $20 a month for that alone.

      Now, if they really wanted to make money off me – a way to legally watch current races without commercials and all past races in the comfort of my home theatre on my AppleTV? I’d pay $300 per year without blinking. The amount of time i waste trying to watch vintage races by cobbling together poor quality YouTube files in Portugese… $300 a year would be nothing.

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