FORMULA ONE will reportedly return to Portugal’s Portimao for the vacant calendar slot on May 2.
Following weeks of uncertainty about how the 2021 calendar would look, F1 chiefs and Portuguese race organisers are said to have agreed to stage the event on the Algarve.
Portugal’s Portimao will hold the third race of the 2021 F1 seasonCredit: Splash News
An agreement has been reached which will see drivers go head to head on May 2Credit: Getty Images – Getty
The race will be the third of the season after Bahrain on March 28 and Imola on April 18.
There were doubts whether Portugal would be able to hold the event given the serious nature of the coronavirus situation in the country.
Teams will reportedly be formally notified of the decision at Thursday’s F1 Commission.
However, UK quarantine restrictions on Portugal mean there are still complications.
Portugal is on the UK’s ‘red list’ which requires anyone arriving in the UK from there to quarantine in a hotel for ten days.
There is no exemption for elite sport meaning any UK based F1 personnel would have to stay away from home between Portimao and the Spanish Grand Prix on May 9.
The Portugal news comes after it emerged F1 are planning a huge qualifying shake-up with ‘sprint races’ and half points handed out to top eight teams.
The idea was mentioned last week by new F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali with the Saturday short races to determine Sunday’s grid.
It means that on some occasions this year, qualifying will be ditched in favour of the sprint races as opposed to reverse grid races.
The top eight finishers from the new qualifying format would pick up around half the points earned from a traditional race.
The plans will be outlined at a meeting on Thursday with the Canadian, Italian and Brazilian Grands Prix expected to be earmarked for the new format to spice up the action.