Formula 1 is shaking up its calendar with a move of the Spanish Grand Prix from Barcelona to Madrid.
Spain’s capital Madrid will play host to the F1 circus from 2026, when the Gran Premio de España is due to take place on a brand-new circuit. The 5.47km track is located around the IFEMA exhibition center in the Barajas district of the city, which is close to the airport and not far from the center of the metropolis.
It will combine temporary public road and more permanent track segments for a 20-turn layout with an estimated qualifying time of one minute and 32 seconds. The move means that the current venue, Barcelona, is due to lose its flagship race and now faces an uncertain future where F1 is concerned.
Organizers revealed that they are hoping to attract around 110,000 fans to the new track for the first race, with plans to increase capacity to 140,000 for later events.
Under a 10-year deal running until 2035, Madrid steps into the limelight as the host of Spain’s Grand Prix, a role it hasn’t undertaken since 1981 when the Jarama circuit, north of the capital, last showcased the prestigious event.
The Spanish Grand Prix has been a fixture at the world-famous Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya since 1991, with a brief stint in Jerez, Andalucia, from 1986 to 1990. And fans will have to get used to a new track that promises to put them at the center of the action.
In line with Formula 1’s desire to be environmentally friendly (as far as a big motorsport event ever can be) and its target of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, the new race promises to be easily accessible by public transport through various metro and train lines.
This should spare race fans from being stuck in traffic for hours, which can only be a good thing. It also promises to be an exciting layout, with there being talk about a fast downhill section and even a banked turn.
“Madrid is an incredible city with amazing sporting and cultural heritage, and [this] begins an exciting new chapter for F1 in Spain,” said F1 president Stefano Domenicali.” I would like to thank the team at IFEMA Madrid, the Regional Government of Madrid, and the city’s mayor for putting together a fantastic proposal. It truly epitomizes Formula 1’s vision to create a multiday spectacle of sport and entertainment that delivers maximum value for fans and embraces innovation and sustainability.”
While Barcelona is losing the Spanish GP for now, there might still be hope that the city will remain on the F1 calendar. Domenicali hinted at ongoing discussions with the second-most populous municipality of Spain, leaving the door open for the possibility of the city hosting an additional race alongside Madrid.