Portugal’s chances of hosting a Formula 1 grand prix have been boosted with news the Algarve International Circuit has been handed an FIA Grade 1 licence.
The Algarve circuit in Portimao was built in 2008 and has hosted rounds of the World Superbike Championship as well as the FIA European Formula 3 championship, FIA GT and WTCC series.
However, the track has only ever been used by Formula 1 for testing.
That could change in the coming years or maybe even this season with some talk of keeping the Formula 1 circus in Europe when the season starts in order to get in as many races as possible.
The Algarve circuit, which recently underwent a major upgrade, is now open for business and has been handed a Grade 1 licence by the FIA.
“It is with great pride that we receive the maximum degree, the highest level in the homologation for automotive circuits, which enables us to receive F1 Grand Prix races,” said Paulo Pinheiro, CEO of Parkalgar, which is the company that owns the circuit.
“After receiving in 2017 the grade 2 + 1T that allowed us to continue to receive tests of that championship, this is how we can reach the maximum level.”
Portugal last hosted a Formula 1 grand prix in 1996 at the Estoril circuit.
The venue was dropped from the calendar as the FIA deemed the facilities unfitting for Formula 1.