Verstappen tested GT3 car at Algarve circuit which is bidding for F1 race

2020 F1 season

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Max Verstappen could stand to benefit from recent experience if Formula 1 makes a rumoured first visit to Portugal’s Autodromo do Algarve later this year.

The Red Bull driver did a private two-day test in a GT3 car at the 4.6-kilometre circuit in January.

Last week Ross Brawn indicated the Portimao track was one of several being considered as potential venues for further European races following the initial run of eight grands prix already confirmed by the series. Reports in Portuguese media have suggested the Algarve circuit could hold two races, on September 27th and October 4th.

Verstappen shared a photograph of himself at the track in January on social media. He told former Red Bull junior team member Antonio Felix da Costa he had driven at the circuit during a social media broadcast last month.

“The weather was bad,” said Verstappen. “Two days I was there and for one-and-a-half days I was driving in the wet.

“It’s still a great track, I really loved driving [it],” he added. “It was the first time I was there.”

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Autodromo do Algarve, 2009
Pictures: When F1 put one foot in the Algarve

Few F1 drivers besides Verstappen have similar experience of the Algarve as recently. Lewis Hamilton is the only driver on the grid who participated in F1’s last test at the circuit in 2009.

Charles Leclerc, George Russell, Alexander Albon, Lance Stroll and Antonio Giovinazzi all raced at the Algarve venue in the European Formula 3 championship five years ago.

Several F1 teams have announced plans to test F1 cars ahead of the resumption of racing next month. Mercedes has already run at Silverstone, Renault will test at the Red Bull Ring tomorrow and AlphaTauri will run its two F1 drivers at Imola on June 24th.

But while Red Bull own the Red Bull Ring, which will host F1’s first two races next month, their options to test on it are limited by the rules.

Teams can only test using cars which are two or more years old. However Red Bull’s 2018 car used a Renault power unit, which they are unlikely to be able to obtain following their switch to Honda engines last year.

Red Bull has one of its two allocated ‘filming days’ still available to use, which it could conduct with its current RB16. These tests are limited to no more than 100 kilometres of running.

Image: Max Verstappen via Instagram

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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9 comments on “Verstappen tested GT3 car at Algarve circuit which is bidding for F1 race”

  1. Well, that’s just lucky. Nobody could have foreseen that, and I doubt it will make much difference if the race is held there.
    Verstappen just loves driving racecars, doesn’t he? If I had that money and those connections I’d drive older junior cars around fun tracks all day long too. Portimao is so great, really hope we get races there.

  2. Note: This was a GT3 car Verstappen tested, not a GP2 car as previously indicated.

    1. Funny I skimmed past it when it read GT2, and when I just saw it now reading GT3, I was much more interested.

  3. So he has a 10 minutes advantage in FP1 over the other drivers

  4. Red Bull’s 2018 car used a Renault power unit, which they are unlikely to be able to obtain following their switch to Honda engines last year.

    I always thought teams have seperate contracts with old(er) engine partners, so they can still use the engine specified for that year/car. They will put Honda stickers on the car for sure, but it’s a Renault engine.

    1. @nmgn From what I understand, customer teams pretty much all just lease the post-2014 PUs instead of buying, and can’t really use them afterwards, maybe unless they still have a partnership with the engine manufacturers, partly because the PU operation is more complex and requires people from the maker to be present.

      1. But at Zandvoort i thought i saw the 2014 car which should have the renault engine onboard?

        So couldn’t he use this one to test?

  5. So, if F1 is really serious about Covid-19, here are the bad news:

    Algarve is currently one of the regions in Portugal with an active transmission chain and positive cases have been soaring.

    Curiously enough the worst region with more active cases and by far the largest total cases is Lisbon and Tagus Valley where the UEFA Champions League will be held.

    All these decisions are probably being made based on Portugal’s stats a few weeks ago during lock down but these last few weeks things have been worsening and I don’t see Portimão being picked by F1 or even if it’s sensible that CL’s matches to be held in the worst region case-wise, for that matter.

    1. Portugal’s new cases have only been 250-400 a day, for weeks now. Today, there was only one death. Italy’s and UK’s daily death totals have been in the dozens. Totals deaths is around 1500. I don’t know where you got your facts.

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