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Start, Autodromo do Algarve, 2020

The Autodromo do Algarve in Portugal will return to the Formula 1 calendar in 2021 as the venue for the third round of the championship.

The venue, which held its first Formula 1 race last year, had been widely expected to take the vacant slot left when the 2021 F1 calendar was first announced last November.

However the deteriorating pandemic situation in the country put F1’s plans in doubt. The championship previously looked into the possibility of holding an extra race in Bahrain if an event in Portugal could not go ahead.

Formula 1 is now understood to be confident the Portuguese race can take place and teams will be advised of their plans at tomorrow’s meeting of the F1 Commission. A single race in Bahrain will therefore begin the season at the end of next month, followed by a further race at Imola in April, after which Portugal’s race will be the first of three rounds in May.

One sticking point for Formula 1’s UK-based teams is that country includes Portugal on its so-called ‘red list’ of areas which are subject to travel restrictions. Those arriving in the UK from Portugal must self-isolate for 10 days.

However F1 personnel will be able to travel from Portugal to Spain for the following round of the championship which takes place one week later. Those returning to the UK will then be able to enter the country 10 days after they left Portugal.

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