Portuguese Grand Prix 2021 – Preview

The 2021 Portuguese Grand Prix gets underway this weekend at the Algarve International Circuit in Portimão. The technically challenging and super-fast track returns to this year’s calendar for only its second Formula One World Championship event, having joined the schedule amidst the reshuffled 2020 season. 

Elevation change is key to the 4.6km lap, with a rollercoaster-ride of blind swooping climbs and swift plunges to contend with, followed by a singular, lengthy DRS zone situated along the pit straight.

Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance: The result in Imola was disappointing and has required a big effort from the factory to recover our stock of parts. Fortunately, there were a lot of good things from the weekend too and we are now in Portugal looking forward to building on the progress made last time out.

Portimão is an excellent circuit, fast and flowing with a lot of elevation change. With the final corner being very quick, the straight is long and fast, especially with DRS. The circuit had been recently resurfaced when we were here last year and that made conditions difficult for the tyres. Pirelli have brought the same compounds as last year – the hardest of their range – but the maturing of the tarmac should improve the overall performance.

Last year we had a reasonably successful weekend and both drivers enjoyed the challenge of the circuit. We hope that the FW43B will work well here, allowing us to build on the performance that we showed in Imola. We have plenty of work to get through on Friday, primarily focussing on the tyres, but we are looking forward to the challenge.

George Russell: I love Portimão because the circuit is very flowing and undulating. The corner types also allow you to do very different lines as they’re quite wide on the entries, there’s not one specific line to drive to go around the corner fastest. That really helps for racing as at almost every corner you can take a different line to get out of the dirty air. You arrive through some corners flat out and blind, not being able to see what is 200 metres ahead, but I think that’s what adds to the thrill of the circuit. It’s a fantastic place and I can’t wait to go racing there again.

Nicholas Latifi: Whenever you’ve had a bad race it gives you more excitement and motivation going into the next one. It gives us a chance to reset and start fresh, which is what I’m looking to do as we head to Portimão. This is a track that, maybe on paper, doesn’t suit our car as well as Imola, and it was a bit of a struggle in Portugal last year. However, I do feel that we’ve improved the car in certain areas, which was evident in Imola, so I’m curious and optimistic to see how we’ll fare this time around. Above all else I’m just hoping for a clean race.

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