The Autodromo Internacional do Algarve – known more colloquially as Portimao, after the port city it sits half an hour outside of – was opened in the autumn of 2008, with construction of the permanent facility completed in just seven months, and at a cost of €195 million.
When was its first Grand Prix?
Portimao, like Mugello – another track that joined the F1 calendar in 2020 – has never hosted a Formula 1 World Championship event. The track was used for F1 pre-season testing in the winter of 2008-09, however – while several drivers on the grid, including Daniel Ricciardo, Charles Leclerc and Valtteri Bottas, experienced the Portuguese circuit during their junior careers.
What’s the circuit like?
Rather like Austin’s Circuit of The Americas, Portimao is a modern venue with elevation change baked into its layout. The Ricardo Pena-designed 4.6-km lap sends drivers swooping up hill and down dale, before culminating in a plunge down to the final right-hander at Galp leading back onto the pit straight.
While the track itself is a world-class facility, its location in the Algarve puts you squarely in one of Europe’s most popular tourist destinations – such a nice area, in fact, that it’s where Ayrton Senna chose to set up his European home, just an hour down the coast from the track in Almancil.
Where is the best place to watch?
Watching F1 cars come steaming into the double-apex, Acque Minerali-evoking Portimao corner is a sight to be seen, while parking yourself at any of the stands at the end of the main straight will give you a great view of the Turn 1 overtaking hotspot.
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