Portimao to fork out $26 Million Entry fee to host F1 race as Chinese GP substitute
The 2023 F1 season was set to host a record 24 Grand Prix across 6 continents. The season will flag off on the 5th of March in Bahrain. But F1 has already had a rocky start for its 74th Championship season with the recent cancellation of the Chinese GP.
China was set to host its first race since 2019 on 16th April. The last 3 editions of the race were cancelled following the Covid-19 outbreak.
The plans to continue racing were halted for the fourth consecutive year after the nation saw a spike in the number of cases recently. China is currently following a very strict lockdown protocol and this has rendered it unfeasible to host races.
CONFIRMED: No Chinese Grand Prix in 2023, with F1 exploring alternatives – Portimao among them – to take the slot on April 16 #F1
— Chris Medland (@ChrisMedlandF1) December 2, 2022
The FIA recently posted a statement following the cancellation of the race. And the sport has turned to Portimao for another cameo appearance.
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Could F1 return to Portimao?
The Algarve International Circuit is a regular in the Moto GP championship. And the venue might make a return to the F1 calendar too. According to recent reports, the mayor of the city of Portimao and the Portuguese government is in talks with F1 as a substitute for the redacted Chinese GP,
Portimao previously made an appearance in the F1 calendar after 24 years of absence in 2020. The circuit was chosen as a filler following cancellations of many races in 2020 and 2021 due to the CoVid-19 pandemic.
The 2020 Portuguese GP saw Lewis Hamilton surpass Michael Schumacher’s record for most wins. Hamilton claimed another win in 2021. It has since been a regular testing venue for constructors.
We’re going back to Portimão! 🇵🇹🙌
🗓 30 April – 02 May#PortugueseGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/pCFio064VC
— Formula 1 (@F1) March 5, 2021
The Ministry of Economy is negotiating the $26 Million entry fee with the sport According to journalist Joao Carlos Costa, a decision could be made before the FIA World Council meeting on December 9.
But Portugal is not the only circuit eyeing a spot in the 2023 calendar. They are joined by another infamous track
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Turkey joins the race for Chinese GP slot
Following the 2023 Chinese GP’s cancellation F1 released a statement reading they are “assessing alternative options to replace the slot on the 2023 calendar.” And apart from Portimao, Turkey’s Turkey’s Istanbul circuit has joined the race as a contender.
Portugal outra vez na rota da F1. Decisão eminente – Portimão deve substituir China no calendário de 2023. Faltam pequenos detalhes, a resolver antes do Conselho Mundial da FIA, marcado para 9 de Dezembro, em Bolonha. Fãs portugueses, que presente de Natal! #F1naSPORTTV pic.twitter.com/bTjp9xiGdv
— joao carlos costa (@jcccomentador) December 1, 2022
But the head of Portugal’s Automobile and Karting Federation believes, “Portugal is at the forefront. However, Portugal is not the only interesting country, as Turkey is also in the running.
The Istanbul Park circuit too filled in during the 2020 and 2021 seasons. The track is well known and is a favourite amongst drivers and fans.
Turkey would logistically make more sense considering that the following race will be in Baku. And the distance from Istanbul to Baku is much closer than from Portugal.
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