Season 2008 - Portugal eye Grand Prix return - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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Season 2008 - Portugal eye Grand Prix return

Season 2008 - Portugal eye Grand Prix return
Eurosport - Mon, 11 Feb 16:55:00 2008
Portugal are looking to return to the Formula One World Championship calendar soon after their newest race circuit was booked for three days of testing next January.

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The Algarve International Circuit near the town of Portimao is so new that it is not even due to be completed until October, but that has not stopped motorsport's governing body the FIA certifying it as a Formula One test venue from next year.

And after World Superbike Championship officials announced late last year that the £149 million track would host this season's final round, plans are now afoot to make a bid over the coming years to see the country make a re-appearance on the schedule.

"The Government will do its best for Portugal to become part of the world's main championships," said deputy sports minister Laurentino Dias.

"This circuit is prepared to host a range of motor races, from the most modest to Formula One."

Portugal first hosted a Grand Prix on the Oporto street circuit in 1958. Oporto again staged the race in 1960 after Monsanto had taken a turn in between.

But the race was dropped from the calendar and not revived until 1984 when the Estoril circuit opened near Lisbon in time to stage the race.

Estoril, which saw future three-time world champion Ayrton Senna take his first Grand Prix win in heavy rain in 1985, was to provide a home for the race until it was dropped for the 1997 championship because of low ticket sales.

Alain Prost and Nigel Mansell are the most successful drivers in the history of the Portuguese Grand Prix with three wins apiece.

Jamie O'Leary / Eurosport
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