F1 drivers speak more in favour of Barcelona to host Spanish GP amid talks of Madrid wanting a grand prix.
Over the last while there have been rumours that the F1 Spanish GP may move to Madrid from 2027 onward. Barcelona has been home to the Spanish race since 1991 which could even be now counted as a permanent fixture on the calendar along with Monza, Silverstone, Hungaroring, Monaco etc.
The Madrid event would be on a street course as local Government has been trying to woo F1 and co for relocation. Other circuits in Spain that have hosted Grands Prix in the past are Valencia, Jarama, Jerez to name but three. Despite these calls, the Circuit de Catalunya remains a popular track with drivers and fans alike.
Here’s what some of the F1 drivers said –
Carlos Sainz: “Yeah, I’ve heard of the project and everything. I just can say that I will do my maximum and just to ensure that there’s still a Spanish Grand Prix, independently of where. I think Barcelona now is doing a great job and I’ve been enjoying coming to Barcelona many years. 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 I will just help and offer my help for whatever they need, doesn’t matter if it’s track design, or whatever and support it”.
Lewis Hamilton: “As long as it [Madrid] is not like Valencia was, which wasn’t the most enjoyable track to drive. I don’t think I would want to lose Barcelona. One, I love the city, and I do think it’s really important that we keep some of the classic circuits, at least the ones that provide great racing. Budapest is spectacular, Silverstone Grand Prix is spectacular, this track – there’s a lot of really great original circuits that we should keep, maybe some that don’t provide the greatest of racing and we can maybe switch those outs. I just think about the heritage of the sport and we’ve got to make sure we hold onto those, which I think are at the pillars of what this sport is, in my opinion.”
Fernando Alonso: “I really don’t know what are the plans. It’s a Formula 1 decision if Madrid is in contention or not. I will be happy to race in Barcelona, I will be happy to race in Madrid – if I’m here in 2026 [and 2027]. If I’m not here, I will watch on TV, and it doesn’t change much. When you come to a traditional circuit, it’s also nice to have a consistent track from Friday to Sunday, not much track evolution and these kind of things. At the end of the day, it’s up to the region if they are happy to host the race or not, and Barcelona has been up and down. Sometimes they are positive about hosting the race, sometimes they don’t want the race – so if they don’t want the race, it is very easy then because some other region would love to have it.”
Valtteri Bottas: “I like the race in Barcelona. It’s probably not the easiest track to overtake but it’s a nice traditional race with a good atmosphere and the track is nice to drive especially with the new layout, but at the same time if they come up with something better in Madrid than yeah sure we’ll try it But it’s not like we’re going to say anything – we go where F1 goes and we race there. I do prefer the old school tracks, for example. Suzuka is my favourite track. So I would always go for the traditional type of tracks, just because normally the joy you get from driving and the feeling and the rhythm is quite different. That’s my opinion, which I don’t think is going to make a difference.”
Nyck de Vries: “I think every driver knows this track very well – it’s been used a lot throughout many different series and also in the simulator. So I enjoy coming here.”
Sell out crowds, boom due to Alonso and Sainz –
Sainz: “Yeah, there’s definitely, I think, F1, since Fernando arrived with the World Championships in 2005, has never stopped from being one of the most followed sports in the country. But I do feel like recent years for… doesn’t matter if it’s Netflix, me moving to Ferrari, Fernando being successful with Aston, there’s another bit of a boom, and we need to maximise it and having this Grand Prix sold out is amazing. And I think also, my grandstand, 3000 tickets sold in less than eight minutes once I sold them just shows the passion and the emotion that there is for this Grand Prix and for the sport. And I also see a lot more of a younger audience. I was in an event in Barcelona promoting the Grand Prix together with the circuit. They’ve done a fan forum in the middle of Barcelona and we were… pretty much all the audience was young. They were all between 15 to 30 years old and you can just tell how much passion, how much love there is for the sport. And it’s something that I see also in other countries, but it’s obviously nice to see in my own country too.”
Two Grands Prix in Spain if possible –
Sainz: “I don’t think it’s the intention of everyone, especially when you look at where they are going with the races and the new horizons they have in the States and everywhere so I don’t believe two Grands Prix in Spain is feasible right now. But I do feel like yeah, out of the Europe circuits or places that F1 is wanting to stay and is wanting to make sure we keep a base in Europe like we’ve seen in recent years, I do think Spain is the right place to keep a yearly Grand Prix and I’m sure Spain is going to do everything they can do to keep it, and I think it’s the right move.”
With the advent of Sainz at Ferrari and the re-emergence of Alonso as a challenge at Aston Martin, F1 in Spain is ever increasingly popular. Spain has hosted two Grands Prix in the past in the same season with Barcelona and Valencia where the latter ran mostly under European GP guise but it is not clear if at current stage it is possible.
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Here’s earlier news on F1 in Madrid