Engines at the ready – Formula 1 arrives in Algarve


By Cristina da Costa Brookes,
in Sport ·
23-10-2020 01:00:00 · 2 Comments

The Portuguese Grand Prix is being hosted in Portimão at Autodromo Internacional do Algarve this weekend (23 to 25 October).

The highly anticipated race, with 66 laps and covering 306.8km, is predicted to be an electrifying one. It is the 12th race of the season and will be making Algarve history as this circuit has never actually hosted a formula one championship, previously.

If successful this weekend, Hamilton will be crowned the most successful Formula one driver in the world as he has equalled Schumacher’s 91 victories following the Eifel Grand Prix in Germany on the 11 October. The real anticipation surrounds this weekend’s favourite Lewis Hamilton who leads with 230 points and could be on the way to winning his 92nd race. Not only could Hamilton be celebrating his own milestone come this weekend but that for his team Mercedes, whose goal is to secure their seventh consecutive constructors’ championship.

Hamilton has a comfortable lead in relation to his main opponent, team mate Valtteri Bottas, who is 69 points behind him but Mercedes main challenger is Max Verstappen from the Red Bull team. However, the dark horse of the race is Renault with Daniel Ricciardo as the one to watch. He has emerged as a surprise as we have witnessed his shape-shift climb in previous races.

This circuit makes for a thrilling race as it has a variety of turns including some very sharp ones. It was revealed to Lusa newspaper that the lap time will be about one minute and 14 seconds. According to stimulations carried out, this track will favour only the most technical drivers, technique will be everything as “there are three points of overtaking, at the end of the finish line” which will be exhilarating to watch.

Portimão has been forced to make cuts on the number of spectators attending the race with initially 46,000 tickets on sale but due to the current pandemic this number has been greatly reduced to 27,500 fans who will be allowed to watch this unforgettable race. Additionally, fans who had received paddock tickets are being refunded as they are no longer allowed to watch the race due to new health measures in place.

This race is very important for Portugal’s economy and the success of this event may dictate the future of this Portuguese circuit being put in next year’s formula one calendar. This is also very important for the tourism of the Algarve which has been heavily impacted by the pandemic.

The CEO of Autodromo Paulo Pinheiro offers reassuring words in an interview to Lusa in relation to the race during these times and affirms that “the facilities have such a huge capacity that social distance is able to be maintained as its interior boasts 60,000 meters squared”. He further reaffirmed that “the teams have enough safe distance between them to work” and that they have spent a lot of time creating this distance and adhering to pandemic health measures so that this race can go ahead and be enjoyed by formula one fans in the Algarve.

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