Start, Autodromo do Algarve, 2020

Formula 1 completes 2021 calendar by confirming return to Portugal

2021 F1 season

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Formula 1 has confirmed it will return to the Autodromo do Algarve in Portugal for third round of this year’s world championship.

The race will take place on May 2nd, filling the ‘to be confirmed’ slot on the schedule. The announcement completes the 23-round F1 calendar for 2021, which is the longest the sport has ever held.

“We want to thank the promoter and the Portuguese government for their hard work and dedication in getting us to this point,” said Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali.

“We are confident and excited about our 2021 season, having shown last year that we could deliver 17 races safely and bring our millions of fans thrilling racing at a difficult time. We hope to welcome fans to Portimao again this season in a safe way and are working with the promoter on the details of that plan.”

The venue near Portimao held its first round of the world championship last year. It was added to the schedule as a result of the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, which led to the cancellation of most rounds outside Europe. Lewis Hamilton won the race, which was Formula 1’s first Portuguese Grand Prix for 24 years.

Aside from a broken drain which disrupted one practice session, Algarve’s first F1 race weekend went smoothly. The track was largely praised by drivers, including Hamilton, who described its undulating layout as “massively challenging”. Sebastian Vettel, Lando Norris and Pierre Gasly also declared themselves impressed with the circuit.

No details have been confirmed regarding the possible attendance of fans at the race. Yesterday the Bahrain Grand Prix promoters confirmed their season-opening round in three weeks time will only be open to those who have been vaccinated against Covid-19 or have recovered from the virus.

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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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19 comments on “Formula 1 completes 2021 calendar by confirming return to Portugal”

  1. Finally, but I’m still surprised how long making this official announcement took. It should’ve been done simultaneously with Imola’s addition back in the first half of January, coinciding with Melbourne’s postponement and Shanghai’s provisional cancellation if you like. Algarve’s addition as the third round was an open secret for pretty much this whole time since the previous race calendar updates.

    1. Dude do you know what was going on Portugal in January?
      They got overwhelmed by Covid-19.
      Other states’ military even had to help them.

    2. @jerejj They were waiting for the Portuguese government to give indication of whether current restrictions were likely to be sufficiently reduced to enable the event to be run.

  2. I’m happy that Algarve is back! With all the elevation changes it’s a quite unique track in the calendar and has the potential to produce exciting races. :-)

  3. 9 months from today we are going to have a race in Jeddah. I haven’t seen anything official about it in quite a while.
    Are there any updates available?

  4. I quite liked Portimao last year. Certainly worthy of a place on the calendar, given the track has interesting undulation, and it gave good racing last year.

    I can’t, however, say I absolutely love it. A slightly soulless vibe, a la Turkey. A track winding through acres of tarmac run-off.

    I would have preferred the more punishing Mugello.

    1. @alloythere I agree with you on Mugello. I find it more enjoyable to drive due to the lap flow.

    2. Both Portimao and Mugello are absolutely top-notch to drive on a sim, but I agree that Mugello makes a more stunning impression when seeing F1 cars race there.

    3. With doubt still hanging over other races, I wouldn’t be surprised if they also bring back Mugello for this year’s “Made in Italy and Tuscany Grand Prix”.

  5. Good that this is settled now. Looking forward to having the track on the roster this year.

  6. Fingers crossed international travel is opened up and there can be some attendance at the Algarve International Circuit

  7. Colonel_Blimp
    5th March 2021, 10:46

    As long as they shorten the DRS zone, it will probably be great.
    Part of me thinks they should remove it all together if the tow effect is reasonable, it’s a very long straight.

    1. Jockey Ewing
      5th March 2021, 16:36

      Yes I think it as well, and as around the penultimate tun (T14, Sagres) it’s quite hard to drive perfectly (banked and a good amount elevation and load change), it’s inevitable that sometimes some drivers will have better runs than the others on the main straight, so that would provide overtaking opportunities by itself. Or with a shorter DRS zone, imo that’s agreed by many.

      It’s nice to see the track again, and I hope situation will get better at Portugal, and they can host the race on a bit less slippery surface, because the resurfaced track was a quite gripless, but with some grip formula cars will likely be very fast there.

      And as many are saying Mugello was great, much greater than I expected. I expected being a bit too old school to F1, although considering the quite heavy and mass crashes it was close to be too old school safety-wise. I’m not the best observer, so I don’t remember how much of the gravel got replaced at Portimao’s sector 2 and 3, but in Raceroom it had a good amount of gravel, in which it would not be impossible to DNF because of sinking :) before hosting the GP. For the similar semi modern – semi old school GP track feeling I was very sad not having Zaandvoort last year too.

    2. @Colonel_Blimp
      I’d rather have an additional zone on the T4-T5 (T3-T4 in my books) straight than play with the S/F straight zone’s length.

  8. Chris Horton
    5th March 2021, 10:55

    Brilliant news, beautiful circuit.

    I hope it gets a permanent Grand Prix.

  9. Isn’t Portugal still on the UK’s list of countries that you must undergo hotel quarantine when returning?

  10. One word: MEGA!

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