Amorim: Portugal on right-path to be part of F1 calendar

Formula One F1 - Portuguese Grand Prix - Algarve International Circuit, Portimao, Portugal - October 25, 2020 Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton in action at the start of the race Pool via REUTERS/Jorge Guerrero

Formula 1’s return to Portugal last weekend, after a 24 years absence, was widely hailed by drivers and teams alike and the country’s ASN president Ni Amorim believes it can keep its place in the calendar.

In this constrained season that forced FOM to find solutions to present a seventeen races season, the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve found a way to the 2020 calendar, debuting as a Grand Prix venue.

In the end, the Portuguese event was confirmed only in July, which didn’t give much time for the local authorities and organisers to put the event in place; yet the combo delivered above expectations according to feedback from across the paddock

Ni Amorim, the Federação Portuguesa de Automobilismo e Karting’ president, is also sure that the Portuguese Grand Prix was well organised. “In sporting terms, the weekend was a success. Drivers and teams gave wide praise to the track and to the organization, which left us pleased.

“We cannot forget that all this ‘circus’ was built in a short period of time. FIA president, Jean Todt, was also really impressed with the track, the infrastructures and the surroundings.

“There were things that went very well and others that need improvements, but that’s normal and it is part of the process,” explained Amorim.

Originally, it was understood that the Portuguese event was a one-off to fill a calendar in the difficult situation in which we currently live in.

But we are almost at the end of the year and we still don’t have a 2021 F1 world championship calendar and it’s expected that the COVID-19 pandemic will still have a role in the shape it takes, which may again force FOM to find short-term solutions to deliver a meaningful season.

In the aftermath of the weekend in Portimao, it is likely Autódromo Internacional do Algarve will find itself in a situation in which it can be a viable venue for a race again next year.

Amorim is confident that last weekend wasn’t the last time F1 will visit the challenging track in southern Portugal, “I left Portimão with a sense of ‘mission accomplished’ and I’m aware that we are in the right path to be part of the F1 calendar.

“I don’t believe this was an isolated participation, we will have a path to go through, we are aware of that, but what was done this weekend was exceptional,” underlined the FPAK president.

Sunday’s race in the Algarve was a historic one; Lewis Hamilton powered to his 92nd Grand Prix victory to make him the driver with most wins in the top flight. A record on the day, in Portimao, that has firmly etched the race into motorsport legend.