Portimao Track Guide
|Location: Portimao, Portugal||Track Length: 4.684 km||Laps: 66||Lap Record: 1:18.750|
Portuguese Grand Prix F1 circuit guide
The Portuguese Grand Prix will return to the Formula 1 calendar in 2021 as the Algarve International Circuit in Portimao hosts only its second race in the sport.
Its inaugural race came in 2020 after it was drafted in to the schedule as part of the reshuffle amid the coronavirus outbreak.
When the 2021 provisional calendar was released, Portugal was absent but it was announced in February that it would again form part of the schedule, slotting into the third race weekend of the season.
Based in the town of Portimao, Faro in southern Portugal, this 2.915-mile track, featuring 14 turns, was part of a €195 million project which also includes a karting track, technology park, five-star hotel, sports complex and apartments.
Construction of the circuit was completed in October 2008 and it was homologated by the FIA on October 13.
Then, some twelve years later, the Algarve International Circuit finally made its Formula 1 debut.
The track, which draws comparisons to Spa and the old Nurburgring due to its constantly undulating nature, did host a test for a group of F1 teams in 2009.
Of course 2020 was not the first time that Formula 1 has contested a Portuguese Grand Prix, far from it.
The first Portuguese Grand Prix was held all the way back in 1951, with Estoril staging the most recent event in 1996 with Jacques Villeneuve emerging victorious.
The legendary Ayrton Senna won his first Formula 1 race at the 1985 Portuguese Grand Prix in what was a wet-weather masterclass around the Estoril circuit.
Portuguese Grand Prix F1 circuit information
The Algarve International Circuit is a track that tests out the drivers' necks thanks to its high-speed flowing corners.
But don't be fooled, for all the fast corners through changing elevation, this track also features some of the harshest braking zones and most unique corners you will find on the F1 calendar.
It's also a wide track which lends itself to overtaking.
Turn 1 (Primeira) - The main straight takes a sudden downhill dip into the fast right of Primeira.
Turn 2 - A flat-out wide right bend.
Turn 3 (Lagos) - Hard on the brakes for this right, an unusual corner for the fact that it's fairly wide, but serious turning lock is needed to move to the far right of the track upon exit to approach the next section.
Turn 4 - It's uphill to Turn 4 which is an unsighted left turn, but full throttle.
Turn 5 (Torre Vip) - Full beans down the back straight into the wide but slow left of Torre Vip which elevates up through the corner. Going wide costs drivers a heap of time.
Turn 6 - Back on the power to breeze through Turn 6, then swerve over to the left of the track.
Turn 7 - A slight lift then through the right bend of Turn 7.
Turn 8 (Samsung) - And then for the second part of the curve, Samsung, a bigger dose of the brakes is needed. Hug the kerb on the inside and drift out as the track climbs up again.
Turn 9 (Craig Jones) - Named in honour of former World Supersport rider Craig Jones who was killed in a motorcycle crash at Brands Hatch in 2008, drivers plunge downhill into this full-throttle left bend and accelerate uphill through the other side.
Turn 10 (Portimao) - Named after the local area this is another challenging double-right where drivers take a very wide line to get the perfect exit.
Turn 11 - A full-throttle left kink.
Turn 12 - Now hard on the brakes for the left hairpin of Turn 12, not quite as tight as Torre Vip, but again drivers lose a lot of time if they don't hug the inside kerb.
Turn 13 (Sagres) - On the brakes intitally for this right bend but accelerating through it after that, very tough on the neck.
Turn 14 (Galp) - Can be hard to nail the pit entry on the right through this almost Indy500-style full-throttle left curve, minus the banking, to make it back onto the main straight.
Portuguese Grand Prix schedule: 2021 Portuguese Grand Prix
Friday, April 30, FP1
Friday, April 30, FP2
Saturday, May 1, FP3
Saturday, May 1, Qualifying
Sunday, May 2, Race
Portuguese Grand Prix tickets: how to get them for the big race
Ticket details for this race are yet to be confirmed, but the prices are unlikely to differ too much from 2020.
In 2020, the Algarve International Circuit had planned for an attendance of around 50,000 fans, although that number had to halved due to the restrictions in place.
The Formula 1 website offered fans a luxury experience with their Paddock Club tickets, with the top of their price range being the VILA DO BISPO private boxes. They set you back €52,500 for the full race weekend.
Below that top tier was the Paddock Club with tickets costing €4638.76 for the race weekend, with the Algarve Club then priced at €2650.
The remaining VIP areas are the Monchique Lounge and Portimao Lounge, both costing €2500 for the race weekend.
Tickets for Friday only in the Portimao Lounge cost €750 and €2000 to watch the FP3, qualifying and race action across Saturday and Sunday.
Other tickets for the Paddock Club for Saturday and Sunday cost €3961.19.
All of these viewing spots are situated down the main straight.
Portuguese Grand Prix ticket lowdown: things to note
While the above prices may break the bank, motorsporttickets.com offered more affordable tickets in 2020, with spots in the various grandstands on offer. Their website also has a handy map feature so fans can see exactly which part of the track they will be stationed at.
The Track Level, Upper Level and Stand West Grandstands are all situated down the main straight.
Our personal recommendation would be Stand South to witness the cars power through the Indy-style Sagres curve and navigate that high-speed pit entry.
Make sure to look around for the best prices though. BookF1.com also offered the above tickets and spots in the Red Bull/Ferrari Paddock Clubs, situated in the pit buildings.
The circuit themselves sell tickets through the Autodromo do Algarve website.
Portuguese Grand Prix directions: how to get there
The nearest airport to the circuit is the International airport at Faro which is about 50 miles away.
Fortunately the track is also easily reachable by car. It's just a 10-minute drive from the cities of Portimão and Lagos and can be accessed via the A22 motorway.
Exit at Mexilhoeira Grande and follow the signs to the circuit.
If you catch the train at Faro station it's a journey of around an hour and a half to Mexilhoeira Grande station, at which point you are 11.5km away from the circuit. Booking a taxi is the best option then which will follow the CM1054 and N125 to complete the journey.
Portuguese Grand Prix history, memorable races and past winners
The Portuguese Grand Prix features prominently in the rich history of Formula 1, and its first hosted at the Algarve International Circuit went down in history as Lewis Hamilton broke a long-standing record.
When he crossed the finish line in P1 in 2020, he became thedriver with the most wins in Formula 1 history, as he passed Michael Schumacher's previous record of 91 Grand Prix wins.
Other notable races at the Portuguese GP include Ayrton Senna's dominant first F1 win in 1985 at Estoril, whilst the 1988 edition at Estoril was where the legendary rivalry between Senna and Alain Prost truly began after forceful defence from Senna down the straight and into Turn 1 left Prost furious.
So, the Algarve International Circuit will build upon the legacy of the Portuguese Grand Prix, so let's take a look back at the most successful drivers and teams of this event's past.
Drivers with most wins
Alain Prost, 3 wins (1984, 1987, 1988)
Nigel Mansell, 3 wins (1986, 1990, 1992)
Sir Stirling Moss, 2 wins (1958, 1959)
Teams with most wins
Williams, 6 wins (1986, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1995, 1996)
McLaren, 3 wins (1984, 1987, 1988)
Ferrari, 2 wins (1989, 1990)
Cooper, 2 wins (1959, 1960)
Last 10 wins
2020 - Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
1996 - Jacques Villeneuve, Williams
1995 - David Coulthard, Williams
1994 - Damon Hill, Williams
1993 - Michael Schumacher, Benetton
1992 - Nigel Mansell, Williams
1991 - Riccardo Patrese, Williams
1990 - Nigel Mansell, Ferrari
1989 - Gerhard Berger, Ferrari
1988 - Alain Prost, McLaren
Algarve International Circuit F1 circuit fastest lap
Lewis Hamilton dominated the only Grand Prix raced at the Algarve International Circuit so far, finishing top of qualification and the race itself.
He set a fastest lap record of 1:18.750 on lap 63 of the race in his W11, while his pole position time was 1:16.652.
Hamilton finished over 25 seconds ahead of team-mate Valtteri Bottas in P2, so he will no doubt be looking forward to visiting Portimao again in 2021.
Algarve International F1 circuit: what the drivers say
Lewis Hamilton: "It’s a really, really hardcore circuit. There are places where you can’t see where you are going. You’re looking at the sky for periods of time. Understanding your braking points, there are no references when you’re looking at the sky. It really is one of the most challenging circuits I’ve been too. The surface is strange."
Daniel Ricciardo: “I actually have good memories in Portimao. It was where I wrapped up the F3 championship, and it was a circuit I really enjoyed. There’s some good elevation, and quite good flowing fast corners."
Valtteri Bottas: "It’s a really nice track. It’s a bit different to many other places, just for the elevation and the blindness of some corners. It’s just consistently up and down really, and some pretty cool corners."
Portuguese Grand Prix Schedule April 30-2
|Practice 1||30 Apr 2021 12:00 AM|
|Practice 2||30 Apr 2021 12:00 AM|
|Practice 3||1 May 2021 12:00 AM|
|Qualifying 1||1 May 2021 12:00 AM|
|Qualifying 2||1 May 2021 12:00 AM|
|Qualifying 3||1 May 2021 12:00 AM|
|Race||2 May 2021 12:00 AM|