Officials at the Portimao circuit have confirmed that discussions have taken place with Formula 1 about the possibility of holding races this year on the revised 2020 calendar.

The delayed 2020 season will finally get underway after being decimated by the COVID-19 pandemic in Austria on July 5, which kickstarts an intense run of eight races in just 10 weeks.

F1 championship officials are continuing in their efforts to finalise the remainder of the calendar, which has proved problematic due to the number of flyaways on the original schedule. On Friday the Azerbaijan, Singapore and Japanese Grands Prix were formerly cancelled, and more races are expected to follow.

A number of alternative F1-ready venues across Europe are being considered to replace the affected long-haul rounds given the improving coronavirus situation across the continent, with Germany’s Hockenheimring and Italian tracks Mugello and Imola understood to be in contention.

The Algarve circuit in Portugal has now confirmed it is a candidate to stage a grand prix this year.

“We confirm that conversations have been going on with F1, in order to host a GP this year at our circuit,” a Portimao spokesperson said.

“We are fully committed in creating all the conditions that are needed for that to happen, and we believe our country and our circuit are the perfect venue for a new F1 race, the racetrack layout, the size of the circuit and its infrastructures, the fact that the Algarve has been almost Covid free, and the amazing weather and hotels, would surely create the perfect conditions for a great weekend.”

The dates understood to be under discussion for a double-header at Portimao are September 27 and October 4, with the Portuguese venue being lined up as a potential replacement for the Russian Grand Prix in Sochi, which is currently scheduled for the last weekend in September.

The 4.6km circuit last hosted F1 machinery in 2008 and 2009 for testing sessions. It was handed a boost of F1 returning to the Algarve in April when it was awarded an FIA Grade 1 license. The last Portuguese Grand Prix took place in 1996 at Estoril.

Speaking about the possibility of alternative European venues last week, F1 managing director of motorsports Ross Brawn said: “There are a number of good European tracks where we could add another one or two races on to make sure we have a comprehensive season.

"We’re not going to declare it yet, as it’s still a work in progress.”

 

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