The difference between F1 and football in Portugal: 100 million
After 24 years, the Formula 1 circus returned this weekend to Portugal, specifically to the Autódromo do Algarve. It was something that Portuguese entities had long dreamed of and achieved.
They did it, but contrary to what one would expect, there was more criticism than anything else. Even with Lewis Hamilton breaking a world record on Portuguese soil (the Briton is now the driver with the most races won in F1, 92), the truth is that both on the 24th (training and qualifying) and on the 25th of October (the race properly seen) the images that were seen the most were those of several sectors of the race track with crowds of people in full stands. The spectacle of speed had more than 27 thousand people watching and, at least for what we saw, especially on social networks, is that there will not have been a control capable of avoiding the so talked about these days social distance, which, say if, it has ‘closed the world’ due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
And if the event led to criticism from the people and other well-known figures, the entities linked to football and their respective leaders were more open-mouthed. Pedro Proença, president of the Portuguese Football League, was one of the voices that rose. The General Directorate of Health has been making a big impact on the public in the football stands, allowing, here or there, between 1000 to 5000 people, in certain games, but it has not refused the ‘madness’ of almost 30 thousand people in a space in everything identical to a football stadium: there are benches, few accesses and few doors for groups to enter in isolation.
Well, what is different about Formula 1 and Football in Portugal in terms of the pandemic? It has a difference of many millions, specifically in the order of 100 million euros. F1 races have the habit of generating a very large economic impact in the countries that receive them, which is why several Portuguese governments have long dreamed of their return.
And this is the big (if not the only) difference between Formula 1 and football in Portugal. And this will certainly be the difference that will be seen on 22 November, when the World Motorcycle Championship returns to Portuguese soil, eight years after the last edition. The doors of the Autódromo de Portimão will open again more than the stadiums of Benfica, FC Porto, Sporting, etc. All because these doors will allow a greater financial fit in the country’s economy than those of football clubs.