While Portugal has decreed the country to be confined to fight against the coronavirus, the holding of a Grand Prix in Portimão at the beginning of May is not called into question.
With the postponement of the Australian Grand Prix, Formula 1 has reshaped the schedule for its start to the season. While Bahrain will host the first round of the season on March 28, the Imola circuit will follow on April 18. On the other hand, like the first version of the program, there remains an empty box which was moved from April 25 to May 2. But, if the identity of the circuit elected to host the third Grand Prix of the 2021 season, there is hardly any doubt.
After allowing the return of Formula 1 to Portugal in 2020 for the first time since 1996, the Portimão circuit will be the lucky winner and will transform the full-scale test carried out on October 25. But if everything seems set to see the paddock move to the Algarve and the formalization was scheduled for this week, a political factor has come into play.
Portimão to replace China
Indeed, faced with the increase in the number of contaminations by the coronavirus and an equally increasing mortality, the Portuguese authorities have put in place a lockdown. A measure which should be maintained for at least one month and which is in addition to entry restrictions decided by the United Kingdom following the discovery of a variant more contagious in Brazil. These travel restrictions have prompted Portuguese Grand Prix organizers and Formula 1 executives to delay the formalization of the organization of the race on May 2 in Portimão.
A delay which, in fine, should not jeopardize the holding of the race with an announcement now expected for the end of January for a season at 23 Grands Prix, a total which could even increase to 24 if a new date in end of the season is found for the Chinese Grand Prix which, if it has disappeared from the calendar, remains officially postponed and not canceled.