Smoke on the water

Seeing as the Algarve is semi-surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, it’s only logical to continue all this racing business on the water. With F1H2O, a little H2O is added to F1 racing. F1H2-what? Enjoy the Algarve explains.

Pictures by Vittorio Ubertone/Idea Marketing

See the original article in Enjoy the Algarve – magazine February 2017


What is it?

Basically, it’s F1 racing on the water. But instead of cars, the drivers race in powerful and lightweight catamarans. The F1H2O people themselves put it a bit more poetic: “Highly competitive, fascinating, intensely challenging, risky and entertaining, Formula 1 Powerboat Racing is the ultimate adrenaline rush and regarded as one of the most spectacular and exciting sports in the world.”


How fast do they go?

Over 220km/h on the straight and over 145km/h in hairpin turns. You’re right, that’s nowhere near as fast as ‘real’ F1 racing goes (which is up to 350km/h on straight bits). But do keep in mind that this is on the water. Ever sat in a speedboat? Remember how bumpy that felt? Right, now multiply that feeling a couple of times and think again. With a 2-stroke Mercury engine that’s close to 400 HP with 10,500 rpm, these powerboats accelerate from 0 to 100km/h in only 4 seconds.


Where does it take place?

All over the world. In 2016, races were held in Portugal, Dubai, France, China, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah. In the Algarve, Portimão is the place to be. In July 2016, the Grand Prix of Portugal was held on the Rio Arade and it’s pretty likely that this will be the case this year as well.

Who’s the guy to watch? 

Portugal’s own Duarte Benavente, driver at the F1 Atlantic Team, of course! This 45-years-old from Lisbon is a veteran when it comes to powerboat racing. He made his debut in Portimão back in 1999 and has since participated in 126 races. He’s currently on the 9th place in the F1H2O drivers world championship. Number 1, 2 and 3 are Philippe Chiappe (France), Shaun Torrente (USA) and Sami Selio (Finland).


What do you need to try it yourself?

Apart from big balls? Lots and lots of money. With a weight of 390 kilos, a fuel tank of 120 litres and a bullet-proof windscreen, these 6m long powerboats don’t come cheap. Knowing how to swim might be useful as well in case of a crash although there are all kind of safety measures such as airbags, divers and an on-site rescue craft. Don’t forget your seasickness tablets.

See the original article in Enjoy the Algarve – magazine February 2017

Posted in Features.