F1 reveals Madrid to replace Barcelona as host of Spanish Grand Prix from 2026

<span>Photograph: Javier Soriano/AFP/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Javier Soriano/AFP/Getty Images

Madrid will take over from Barcelona as the host of the Spanish Grand Prix from 2026, putting the future of the current venue under threat on the Formula One calendar.

Formula One announced on Tuesday that the new 3.399-mile circuit will be located around the Ifema convention centre to the north-east of the capital and will consist of both street and purpose-built sections with 20 corners.

The sport has concluded a long-term deal to hold the race in Madrid until 2035, with the circuit set to open with a capacity of 110,000, with an expectation of potential to expand to host 140,000 fans, which would make it one of the largest venues on the current calendar.

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The statement announcing the race from F1 also included the commitment to making the meeting one of the most sustainable on the calendar, with the sport having set the target of reaching net zero emissions by 2030. The track will be five minutes from Barajas international airport and accessible via train and metro lines with the sport estimating that 90% of fans could travel to the meeting on public transport.

F1 said discussions remain open with Barcelona, whose contract ends in 2026, about its future and the potential of Spain hosting two races.

“For the avoidance of doubt and to clarify here, the fact we are in Madrid is not excluding the fact we could stay in Barcelona for the future,” the F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali said. “Looking ahead, there are discussions in place to see if we can really extend our collaboration with Barcelona, with whom we have a very good relationship, for the future.”

F1 is enjoying a resurgence of popularity in Spain, with the double world champion Fernando Alonso and two-time race winner Carlos Sainz representing the country on the grid. In 2023 the TV viewing figures in Spain were at 3.5m on average per race, an increase of 84% on the previous year.

The first Spanish GP was held in 1913 and Madrid last hosted the race in 1981 at the Jarama circuit, which is 20 miles north of the city. It was held at Jerez in Andalucia from 1986-1990 and since then has enjoyed a long run at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

Domenicali said that long-term deals were the sport’s favoured contracts for the future with race hosts and noted that, while the most recent additions to the calendar have been in the US and the middle east, it proved Europe remained a key and enormously popular market for F1.

“It’s great news for Formula One as it shows once again that there is strong appetite around the world for our sport,” says Domenicali. “It shows that at a moment where Europe is perceived to be a place that is not ready to invest in our sport, Madrid and others are showing it is.”