Carlos Sainz: Madrid GP would be unbeatable for F1

The Spanish GP could move from the Circuit de Catalunya to Madrid as early as 2026

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Madrid would have a lot to offer Formula 1 if the Spanish Grand Prix does switch to the capital from the Circuit de Catalunya, according to Carlos Sainz Sr.

Both Sainz Sr and Ferrari‘s Carlos Sainz Jr hail from Madrid and the rally legend even had a trial with Real Madrid as a teenager – while the family remain fans of Los Blancos to this day.

At the beginning of December it was reported F1 had agreed to move the Spanish GP from Barcelona to a Madrid street circuit from 2026, but the FIA subsequently denied a switch is imminent.

“Having a grand prix is fundamental, in the end I don’t know if there will be one or two,” Sainz Sr told the media at the launch of Audi‘s Dakar Rally car.

“If it is confirmed and becomes a reality that the Spanish GP comes to Madrid, I’m happy as a Madrilenian I’m happy.

“I know what a grand prix implies and the mark that a grand prix leaves on a city. Madrid, in the place where it has been chosen, logically speaking is unbeatable, it is unbeatable in the world. For Madrid, knowing what this city is like, it would be fantastic.”

Sainz: A unique experience to race in home city

Sergio Perez performs in the RB7 Red Bull car in a demo run in Madrid | Red Bull Content Pool

Sainz Sr is a two-time WRC champion and four-time winner of the Dakar Rally, and is gearing up for another tilt at the race in January 2024.

Sainz Jr should still be racing in F1 in 2026 after a successful 2023 with Ferrari, where he finished just six points behind teammate Charles Leclerc and was the only non-Red Bull driver to win a grand prix.

However, while could be the only Spanish driver on the grid given the timeless Fernando Alonso will turn 45 in 2026, Sainz Jr may not still be racing in scarlet after reports Ferrari are unwilling to offer him a long-term contract extension.

“If it comes and moment Carlos is racing in F1, racing in your city… I have experienced it in a rally and it is unique and fantastic. If he’s lucky enough to do that, he’s going to enjoy that grand prix a lot,” Sainz Sr added. “All Madrilenos, Spaniards and people who want to come to Madrid, we all know that Madrid is a fun city, that it is capable of the best and, therefore, I am happy.

“On the other hand, Catalonia has had it for many years, they have enjoyed it and there is no written rule that says it has to be for life in a place.

“It was also in Jerez at the time, these are processes in the world of motor racing that are moving forward and, if it really happens, I would be delighted.

“I encourage whoever is capable of making the decision, I also believe that it is a private initiative, nobody will be able to point the finger at anyone or say that the money is destined for this because I am convinced that if it is done it will be a success.”

Adam Dickinson
Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for Total-Motorsport.com since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, previously worked for Last-Lap.co.uk and FeederSeries.net in motorsport, and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
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