Portimao chief reveals 'knockout' that prevented Portuguese GP return

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Portimao chief Miguel Praia has revealed the factor which was a "knockout" to reviving the Portuguese Grand Prix.

One of five new races added to the revised 2020 schedule, this weekend, the country will host its first Formula 1 race since 1996, when Estoril ended a 13-year stint on the calendar.

When the Algarve International Circuit, better known as Portimao, was built in 2008, F1 was one of the first major categories to visit, holding a four-day test in January 2009.

However, hopes that would lead to a race never materialised, until its experience in holding events in contained environments saw Portimao as one of the first circuits put forward when Liberty Media was trying to put together the revised 2020 schedule.

“When we started at this track two years ago, our first goal was always to welcome Formula 1 to our race track one day,” Praia told Motorsport-Total.com.

Also Read:

“We’ve been in touch with Formula 1 management before to host a Grand Prix, but to be honest, the fee for F1 was a real knockout criterion for us.”

Initially, it was hoped that 45,000 fans would be allowed into the circuit after Portugal had managed to contain Covid cases throughout the summer.

A recent surge in the past few weeks, however, has seen guidelines changes at the last minute with all general admission tickets now void without a designated grandstand seat.

“As is well known, Portugal saw measures to combat the pandemic COVID-19 increased last week, as determined by the government, with a series of additional restrictive measures taking effect in the national territory,” a statement read.

Portimao 2

“As a consequence of these new measures, the health and administrative authorities have also determined new limitations and prohibitions regarding the presence of the public at the Portuguese Grand Prix, namely a further decrease in the total number of spectators allowed.

“We would very much like the current moment to be different so that everything could happen in a different way, but we have to adapt to situations, as they come across us, and resolve them within the possibilities within our reach.”

It is now expected the new race day attendance under the stronger restrictions will be 27,500.