Portuguese Grand Prix poised to join 2021 calendar

Jamie Woodhouse
Portuguese Grand Prix

Portuguese Grand Prix set to take vacant slot on 2021 calendar.

The Portuguese Grand Prix will fill the vacant slot on the 2021 calendar, completing the schedule, according to a report by Autosport.

They state that after talks between Formula 1 officials and race organisers to gain a better understanding of the situation in Portugal as the world continues to battle against the COVID-19 pandemic, a breakthrough has been made.

And that breakthrough will be the confirmation of the Portuguese Grand Prix at the Algarve International Circuit to be held on May 2, making it Round 3 of the 2021 season.

The report says teams will be informed of the news on Thursday during a meeting of the F1 Commission.

During that meeting other key topics are expected to be discussed, such as the proposed 2022 engine freeze, as well as a possible trial of sprint races, perhaps as soon as the current season.

But while the Portuguese GP is indeed set to join the calendar, Autosport go on to reveal the challenges which surround the event for the teams, especially since it is set to take place one week before the Spanish Grand Prix.

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“Portugal is currently on the UK’s ‘red list’ of countries where anyone returning from must quarantine in a hotel for 10 days,” Autosport state.

“With it understood that no exemption on the ‘red list’ matter is being granted for elite sports, it means UK-based F1 team personnel will be unable to return home from Portugal before the Spanish Grand Prix on May 9.

“The back-to-back nature of the Portuguese and Spanish rounds made it unlikely that many staff would have returned home anyway.

“It does mean though that, with a 10-day lock-out period for anyone returning to the UK from Portugal, any staff leaving the country on the Monday after the race will not be able to go back to the UK immediately after Spain because of the requirement to isolate in a hotel.

“It therefore means teams may potentially have to stay in Europe longer to continue racing.”

Following the Spanish Grand Prix there is set to be a two-week break before the Monaco Grand Prix returns, having been absent from the 2020 schedule.

In order to cope with the demands of a record 23-race season, there has been talk that teams would look to rotate their crews around race weekends anyway, even with the $145m-per-season budget cap now in place, something which could help ease the stress of team members being in quarantine.

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