Spanish GP switch to Madrid gathers momentum
The possibility of the Spanish Grand Prix switching to Madrid earlier than perhaps believed is on the table ahead of the latest event to be held at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona, Speedcafe can confirm.
The ageing track situated 17 miles north-east of the Catalan capital has staged the race since 1991 but it is facing an increasingly growing threat from its major city rival despite a contract that runs through to the end of 2026.
It is known that at the end of March F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali met with Madrid representatives at the Formula 1 Exhibition in the city to discuss its plans for a street race. Domenicali confirmed at the time that “there is great interest”.
The proposal was very detailed and compelling and is under serious consideration by F1, particularly as Speedcafe has learned the current deal with Barcelona possesses break clauses that can be activated providing there is agreement on both sides.
It is understood F1 is eager to see progress made at a track that has shown little attempt over the years to modernise, providing only cosmetic touches to address its faults.
Fernando Alonso’s return to form with Aston Martin this season will naturally peak interest in the Spanish fans for this weekend.
Yet the two-time F1 champion recognises the rollercoaster nature displayed by Barcelona officials in the past to hosting the race.
“I will be happy to race in Barcelona, and if Madrid is in contention, I will be happy to race in Madrid,” said Alonso. “If I’m not here, I will watch on TV. It doesn’t change much.
“Let’s see. At the end of the day, it’s up to the region, if they are happy to host the race or not. Barcelona has been up and down.
“Sometimes they are positive about hosting the race, sometimes they don’t want the race. If they don’t want the race, it is very easy then because some other region would love to have it.”
Alonso’s only concern with Madrid is that it would be yet another street race joining the calendar.
“It’s good to have a few but not too many,” assessed Alonso. “When you come to a traditional circuit, it’s nice to have a consistent track from Friday to Sunday, not much track evolution, and these kinds of things.”
Fellow Spaniard Carlos Sainz, who was born and raised in Madrid, is simply concerned there remains a race on home soil going forward.
The Ferrari driver has vowed to do his “maximum to ensure there is a Spanish Grand Prix, independently of where”.
“Barcelona is doing a great job, and I’ve been enjoying coming to Barcelona for many, many years,” said Sainz.
“Obviously, I still need to go a bit more into the detail of what’s going on in Madrid and what they’re planning to do there.
“But I will just support the Spanish Grand Prix, independently of where it is, and offer my help on whatever they need.”