Back in June 2022, the government of the city of Madrid publicly stated their desire to host a race in the near-future, and it now seems they’ll be getting their wish.
Spanish publication AS have reported that there is now a ‘long-term agreement, between the city and F1 to stage a grand prix there from 2026 onwards, and an official announcement could come as soon as next week.
The new street circuit is based close to Madrid’s Barajas international airport, and will run past Real Madrid’s Valdebebas training complex and the IFEMA convention centre which last year hosted the F1 Exhibition.
However, the arrival of the Madrid Grand Prix will surely mark the end of the current host of the Spanish Grand Prix: the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona.
The track has hosted the grand prix since 1991, and until the last few years had often staged pre-season testing.
It is currently contracted to remain on the calendar until 2026 but it is unlikely that it will continue when Madrid arrives.
While not uncommon for one country to host two races in a single season – the USA has three and Italy has two on the 2024 calendar – F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali has previously said:
‘I don’t think in the medium term, after 2026, we will be in that situation of having two races in Europe in the same country unless something changes and it’s different.’
The announcement will provoke mixed feelings for fans, as while Catalunya is one of the least-popular tracks around, street circuits are very hit and miss, and the increasing amount of them is not to everyone’s liking.
‘I think the presence of a Grand Prix in Spain is fundamental,’ Carlos Sainz Sr., World Rally Champion and father of Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz Jr., said when discussing the possibility of a Madrid race.
‘I don’t know if in the end it will be one or two, but if it is confirmed, and it could be a reality, if the Spanish Grand Prix comes to Madrid, like any Madrileno, [I would be] happy. I know what a Grand Prix implies and the imprint it leaves on a city.
‘I think that, on the other hand, Catalonia has had it for many years and enjoyed it, there is no written rule that it has to be for life in one place, it was also in Jerez at the time.
‘These are processes in the world of motorsport that are going on and if it really happens, I would be very happy. I think if it is done, it will be a success.’
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