Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Autodromo do Algarve, 2020

Algarve shows F1 needs to ‘pick the right tracks’ – Vettel

2020 Portuguese Grand Prix

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Formula 1 drivers praised the Autodromo do Algarve circuit, which is hosting the series for the first time this weekend, following the first two practice sessions on Friday.

Pierre Gasly said the track’s extreme changes of gradient are unlike anything he’d experienced in an F1 car before.

“It was really cool,” said the AphaTauri driver. “The first few laps when I went out I got this feeling like you get in your stomach when you’re on a rollercoaster. After turn eight, going up the hill and down I really had the same feeling and I was like, ‘wow, I’ve never felt that in a Formula 1 car.'”

Gasly’s day did not go according to plan, with stoppages in both sessions and a fire in the second. Nonetheless he was impressed by the distinctive Algarve track. “It’s quite challenging – there’s a lot of blind corners, high-speed, low-speed corner braking. It’s quite unusual in that way.

“I like when tracks are unique and I think this is so it’s pretty cool.”

Fresh asphalt was laid at the track ahead of F1’s arrival and the new surface is still lacking grip. However Lando Norris it was still possible to appreciate the unique aspects of the track.

“It’s good fun,” said Norris, “it’s just different compared to other ones. The Nurburgring I liked a lot because of how up and down the cambers on the corners are. Here the cambers are more off-camber. Comparing the cambered corners, like the Nurburgring, which are cool and going to give you more grip, the off-camber corners here give you a lot less grip and it makes it tricky.”

The design lessons F1 is hoping to learn at Algarve’s ‘three-dimensional’ track
“It’s a good mix of high speed and low speed,” he added. “Quite up and down, a lot more than most tracks. So it’s cool in a Formula 1 car, I just wish we had a little bit more grip.”

Sebastian Vettel, one of several drivers who hadn’t visited the Algarve circuit before this weekend, was also impressed by his first experience of the track.

“I think it’s slippery probably mostly because of the resurfacing but it’s very smooth and it’s quite a nice track.”

“I think that tomorrow will be better,” he added, “just waking up and knowing where you need to go, it’s good.”

Vettel said the Algarve circuit shows there are good venues available to Formula 1 which it hasn’t raced at before. “It probably proves that we have plenty of tracks that are exciting, we just need to pick the right ones.”

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2020 Portuguese Grand Prix

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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7 comments on “Algarve shows F1 needs to ‘pick the right tracks’ – Vettel”

  1. Hiland (@flyingferrarim)
    23rd October 2020, 20:01

    Sounds like a fun track. Looks like its in a beautiful location as well. If the racing ends up being good, maybe include for future years?

    1. I raced my Cooper 500 there a few years ago. It is a fabulous circuit with surprising long steep hills, truly blind and some wide open corners and a very fast downhill straight. Strangely reminiscent of Cadwell Park on a big scale. I loved it. They had every facility you could imagine, including a swimming pool in the paddock (is it still there?). They were about to go bankrupt then because F1 refused to use it – they said because there were too few places where TV cameras could get good long shots so advertisers wouldn’t pay! Made no sense to us, but F1 knew best.

      However it seems they have survived and I can’t wait for the in-car video to bring it all back.

  2. The track and setting are really great. I got the good vibes just watching the cars around here in practice, reminding me a bit of when I first started watching F1.

    Let’s see how the racing is, but there’s a good mix of corner types for all cars to have their good bits. Maybe they should have added a bit more camber in critical corners to help overtaking.

    1. I reckon the racing is going to be alright, last turn is flat therefore drs should work even if all actual racing fails. despite little camber I think cars can race.
      Mugello was the most wonderful surprise, camber is actually good for racing, perhaps this is another good bike track suitable for f1

  3. playstation361
    23rd October 2020, 21:15

    No better person than Vettel.

  4. As with any other country, track, city or venue, if you want a spot on the F1 calendar. all it takes is $$$ and bring lots.
    There are only so many places that can be squeezed onto the schedule and pay the ho$ting fee$ for an event.
    Enjoy them while we can, because they likely won’t be back in the mix.

  5. This track should replace Catalunya. That is a track that never produces a good race (except 2016).

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