Formula One returned to Portugal for the first time in 24 years with the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve presenting teams and drivers with an all-new challenge.
A mini Spa – Due to its undulations and flowing nature, the Portimao race track is often likened to a scaled down Spa-Francorchamps. However, it is also reminiscent to Austin’s Circuit of the Americas with its blind corners. With all these elevation changes and blind bends, the Portimao track is one of the most challenging on the current F1 calendar.
A relatively short track – The Portimao track is a relatively short circuit with a length of 4.653km. Drivers will need to complete 66 laps in total to cover the race distance of 306.826km.
Important facts – The pitlane speed limit will be 80km/h in practice, qualifying, and the race while there is an offset between the start and finish line with a length of 0.272km.
The hardest compounds - Pirelli is this weekend providing teams and drivers with the hardest tyres in the range. The C1 compound will feature as the white-banded hard tyre, the C2 as the yellow medium and the C3 as the red soft tyre.
Only one - There will be a single DRS zone at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve. The detection point is 65 metres after Turn 14 and the activation is 125 metres after Turn 15. The FIA had practically no other choice to mandate another DRS zone as there are no flat long full-throttle sections where the drag reduction system could be used in an effective and safe manner apart from the start-finish straight.
Three locations - This afternoon’s race will be the 17th Formula 1 World Championship Portuguese Grand Prix and the first for 24 years. The event first appeared on the calendar in 1958 when the race took place at the Circuito do Boavista street track in Porto with Stirling Moss winning the race for Vanwall. The next year saw the London-born take another victory at Monsanto, but this time for Cooper-Climax. Next year belonged once again to the Charles Cooper-founded British outfit, but it was Jack Brabham to take the triumph this time out when the event returned to Boavista.
Following three exciting races, the Portuguese Grand Prix disappeared from the Grand Prix calendar for a long period of time. However, in 1984, the sport returned to Portugal with a new venue, Estoril playing host to the fourth Portuguese Grand Prix. McLaren’s Alain Prost crossed the finish line first. The track to the west of Lisbon staged the Portuguese Grand Prix each year until 1996 when the race once again disappeared from the schedule.
Three repeat winner – Alain Prost and Nigel Mansell are the most successful drivers in the history of the Portuguese Grand Prix with both having claimed three wins. The Frenchman took all his three wins with McLaren while the Briton won for Williams on two occasions and once for Ferrari. Stirling Moss is the only other repeat winner with two wins – one for Vanwall and one for Cooper.
The most successful - Williams have more Portuguese Grand Prix wins than any other team. The Grove-based outfit have won six times courtesy of Jacques Villeneuve, Ricciardo Patrese, Damon Hill, Nigel Mansell and David Coulthard. McLaren is the second most successful outfit with three victories while Ferrari and Copper share the third spot on this list with two triumphs.
Coulthard and Senna – The only two drivers to score their maiden Grand Prix victory in Portugal are David Coulthard and Ayrton Senna. The British racing driver emerged victorious in 1995, driving for Williams-Renault while the Brazilian three-time champion took his first F1 victory ten years earlier in 1985 with Lotus-Renault. Senna also holds the record for Portuguese Grand Prix pole positions with three.