The FIA Formula One World Championship is ready to write history again in Portugal as the pinnacle of motorsport returns to the European country to race for the first time in the Algarve International Circuit (AIA), located in Portimao.
The modern circuit homologated by FIA and FIM will serve as host for the twelve round of the series 2020 revised calendar, the Formula One Heineken Portuguese Grand Prix, set to take place on October 23-25.
Sports Pundit reached out to the management team of the circuit to learn more about the upcoming event.
“It gives us great pleasure that we have finally achieved our lifetime dream of having a Formula 1 race at our circuit. It is the pinnacle and the reward for our teams hard work for all these years, so we are really thrilled and excited to host this race. It is also recognition of all the effort put in during such a difficult year, and we now have something good for all the fans to cheer about.”
The track designed by Portuguese architect Ricardo Pina, spans on 4,684 m (2.910 mi), boasting a capacity for 100.000 spectators.
It features corners and straights which follow each other in quick succession with steep elevation changes and many uphill and downhill sections.
Despite being an open doors event, due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, restrictions will come into effect to ensure the safety of the people attending the event.
“With restricted rules and conditions, we will have a limited number of spectators at the event. We hope we can achieve 60.000 spectators for this event,” the management team explains.
Yesterday, the FIA issued a statement: “Following the COVID-19 global pandemic that broke out at the beginning of the year, the FIA is closely monitoring the evolving situation with its Member Clubs and relevant authorities including Governments and WHO, under the direction of FIA Medical Commission President, Professor Grard Saillant.
The FIA will evaluate the calendar of its forthcoming races and, if necessary, take any action required to help protect the global motorsport community and the wider public.”
THE WAIT WAS WORTH IT
Inaugurated in 2008, the FIM Superbike World Championship became the first major event to take place at the new circuit, which also served as home to the Formula One pre-season testing in the winter of 2008-09.The 24hs Endurance Series, European Le Mans Series, and the National Speed Championship are among the events to be part of the circuit sporting calendar.
In 2020, the dream of hosting a Formula One Grand Prix became a reality hoping to remain for many seasons to come.
The infrastructure encompasses a premium 5-star hotel, restaurants, a go-kart track, and an off-road track, built to be used for the all-terrain vehicle and motorcycle testing, SUVs, and rallies.
Among the facilities are a media center, paddock, and a briefing room.
The Algarve International Circuit is one of the few circuits within Europe to have a modern rain simulation system for testing all aspects of performance and tire usage.
This feature consists of an asphalt watering system controlled automatically by a modern software that allows varying amounts of water to be injected onto the track.
AN EUROPEAN TRIO IS BACK
The announcement of the Portuguese Grand Prix came along with the confirmation of two other venues, added to the 2020 revised calendar.
The Aramco Grosser Preis der Eifel Grand Prix at the Nurburgring circuit, in Germany, will mark the return - early in October, of the historic Grand Prix to Formula One since 2013.
A week after the Portuguese Grand Prix Formula One goes back to racing in Italian soil for the third time this season - the series visits Monza and Mugello in September.
Imola returns to the series this year, for the first time since 2006.
A revamped Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari will host the Emirates Gran Premio dell Emilia Romagna, with a two-day event.
Also, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the races in Brazil, Canada, Mexico, and the US have been canceled.
As it currently states, the 2020 revised calendar features 13 races, although new announcements could be made in the weeks to come.
FLASHBACK TO 1996 - PORTUGAL GP
The last time Portugal hosted a Formula One Grand Prix was in 1996, in Estoril.
Teammate Damon Hill started the race from pole position, finishing in second place, Michael Schumacher with Scuderia Ferrari completed the last F1 podium at the Autodromo Fernanda Pires da Silva in Estoril.