MAY 26, 1997
Portugal - work needed
THE Portuguese Grand Prix looks likely to be off the F1 calendar this year because there is too much to be done for the venue to be finished in time for an FIA inspection on August 31. The Portuguese authorities are pushing ahead with major work to make the track safer. This includes a reprofiling of the first corner, a speeding-up of the tight chicane at the back of the circuit and the moving of the curling Senna Corner to provide more run-off area. There is also to be a new media center.
The FIA World Council in 10 days will look at whether or not there might be an 18th race this year but any decision will be dependent on the teams agreeing to take part. We understand that team bosses will be offered an extra $500,000 for a race.
The Portuguese are confident that the work can all be done in the time available. The FIA is less convinced.