F1 calendar for 2021 confirmed as Portuguese GP rubber-stamped for third race of new season
Portugal's popular Portimao circuit lands a quick return to the F1 calendar to fill the vacant third-race slot on the 2021 schedule; New season begins in Bahrain on March 28, with pre-season testing next Friday. All live on Sky Sports F1
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 05/03/21 2:15pm
Portugal will stage the third round of the Formula 1 season on May 2 after its addition to the calendar was rubber-stamped.
As first reported last month, a deal had been agreed between F1 and the Portimao circuit to fill the vacant slot on the 23-race schedule pending final approval, which was announced on Friday morning.
The Portuguese GP completes what is scheduled to be a record 23-race season. The campaign begins in Bahrain on March 28. Every race is live on Sky Sports F1.
Stefano Domenicali, F1's president and CEO, said: "We are thrilled to announce that Formula 1 will be racing again in Portimao after the huge success of the race last year.
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"We want to thank the promoter and the Portuguese Government for their hard work and dedication in getting us to this point.
"We are confident and excited about our 2021 season, having shown last year that we could deliver 17 races safely and bring our millions of fans thrilling racing at a difficult time."
The undulating Portimao circuit in the Algarve - likened to a rollercoaster by drivers - was drafted in to hold its inaugural Grand Prix last October as F1 moved to a mostly European-based schedule due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The track proved popular with drivers and produced an exciting Grand Prix, with Lewis Hamilton winning his 92nd race to surpass Michael Schumacher's all-time record.
Twenty-seven thousand spectators were in attendance last autumn.
"We hope to welcome fans to Portimao again this season in a safe way and are working with the promoter on the details of that plan," added Domenicali.
Portugal is currently one of 33 countries on the United Kingdom's 'red list' and UK and Irish residents have to quarantine in hotels for 10 days on their return, with elite sports not exempt.
Portugal will form a back-to-back with neighbouring Spain on the calendar, meaning F1 personnel are set to go straight from the Algarve to Barcelona for the following week's event.
When do the F1 races start in 2021?
|Date||Grand Prix||UK race start|
|March 28||Bahrain GP||4pm|
|April 18||Emilia-Romagna GP||2pm|
|May 2||Portuguese GP||3pm|
|May 9||Spanish GP||2pm|
|May 23||Monaco GP||2pm|
|June 6||Azerbaijan GP||1pm|
|June 13||Canadian GP||7pm|
|June 27||French GP||2pm|
|July 4||Austrian GP||2pm|
|July 18||British GP||3pm|
|August 1||Hungarian GP||2pm|
|August 29||Belgian GP||2pm|
|September 5||Dutch GP||2pm|
|September 12||Italian GP||2pm|
|September 26||Russian GP||1pm|
|October 3||Singapore GP||1pm|
|October 10||Japanese GP||6am|
|October 24||United States GP||8pm|
|October 31||Mexico City GP||7pm|
|November 7||Sao Paulo GP||5pm|
|November 21||Australian GP||6am|
|December 5||Saudi Arabian GP||4pm|
|December 12||Abu Dhabi GP||1pm|
F1's Grands Prix are reverting to starting at the top of the hour in the 2021 season after three seasons of 'lights out' at 10 minutes past the hour.
Most European races are starting at 3pm local time, which is 2pm for UK viewers on Sky Sports F1 (the British GP will start at 3pm local).
The season-opening Bahrain GP takes place in a tea-time slot of 4pm BST.