The Portuguese Grand Prix is set to fill the vacant slot as the third round on the 2021 Formula 1 calendar.

It is understood Portimao’s Autodromo do Algarve circuit will host the third race of F1’s planned 23-round campaign on 2 May, having stood in to stage a grand prix for the first time last year as part of the rewritten mostly European-based 2020 schedule.

The Algarve venue was widely expected to make a return for this season but the third race was left vacant when the amended version of the 2021 calendar was published in January amid a worsening coronavirus situation in Portugal, which remains in a national lockdown.

Following recent discussions between F1 officials and circuit organisers, both parties are now understood to be happy for the event to go ahead. Championship bosses are set to inform teams of the latest calendar plans in the next meeting of the F1 Commission on Thursday.

There are potential complications, however, with Portugal included on the United Kingdom’s ‘red list’ of 33 countries that are subject to strict travel and quarantine restrictions.

Anyone arriving in the UK from Portugal must self-isolate in specific quarantine hotels for 10 days as of next Monday (15 February), and elite sports have not been granted an exemption from those measures.

Should those rules still be in place when the race takes place in just under three months' time, UK-based personnel will be unable to return home between back-to-back races in Portugal and Spain on 9 May, nor would they be able to travel back immediately after the Spanish Grand Prix. understands that a mooted second race in Bahrain was only ever floated as an idea in the event that the Portuguese Grand Prix proved unviable, and was not under serious consideration.

As a result, the 2021 F1 season set now set to begin with the Bahrain Grand Prix on 28 March, followed by a race in Imola on 18 April, before heading to Portugal for round three.

Expected 2021 Formula 1 Race Calendar
Bahrain GP (Sakhir)March 28
Emilia Romagna GP (Imola)April 18
Portuguese GP (Portimao)May 2
Spanish GP (Barcelona)May 9
Monaco GP (Monte Carlo)May 23
Azerbaijan GP (Baku)June 6
Canadian GP (Montreal)June 13
French GP (Paul Ricard)June 27
Austrian GP (Spielberg)July 4
British GP (Silverstone)July 18
Hungarian GP (Budapest)August 1
Belgian GP (Spa)August 29
Dutch GP (Zandvoort)September 5
Italian GP (Monza)September 12
Russian GP (Sochi)September 26
Singapore GP (Marina Bay)October 3
Japanese GP (Suzuka)October 10
United States GP (Austin)October 24
Mexican GP (Mexico City)October 31
Sao Paulo GP (Interlagos)November 7
Australian GP (Melbourne)November 21
Saudi Arabian GP (Jeddah)December 5
Abu Dhabi GP (Yas Marina)December 12