Formula 1’s official announcement that the Madrid Grand Prix will take place from 2026 has left many wondering about the future of the current venue of the Spanish Grand Prix, the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
On Tuesday, F1 finally confirmed motorsport’s worst-kept secret that a race will take place on the streets of the Spanish capital in Madrid. The 10-year agreement is expected to generate £343 million ($434m) a year for the organisers, offering an insight into how lucrative it will be for Spanish tourism.
But the main unknown is whether Barcelona, which has been the home of Spanish motor racing in F1 since 1991, will continue to hold its place on the calendar when Madrid returns after a 45-year absence.
Barcelona is under contract until 2026 and to some, it would make sense for a natural transition from one venue to the next. But to lose another authentic racing circuit in favour of yet another street race may alienate some parts of the fanbase who still enjoy the traditional race weekend experience.
Domenicali hints at Barcelona future
There is a possibility that F1 could have two Spanish races on the calendar, which occurred as recently as 2012 when the European Grand Prix was held in Valencia. F1’s CEO Stefano Domenicali indicated that their strong relationship with Barcelona’s organisers means it could remain a part of F1 along with Madrid.
“Barcelona is F1, and work is being done beyond that because Spain deserves to be able to have the opportunity that will increase its presence in the future,” Domenicali told reporters after the announcement.
“So we are working. We will see and we will keep you updated as soon as we can. Barcelona is incredible, that’s the first thing, because Oriol Sagrera [new CEO of the Barcelona Circuit] is an incredible person and is doing an extraordinary job for Barcelona.”
When asked if both events could co-exist in Spain in 2026, the Italian replied: “Why not?”
Pere Aragones, the president of the Generalitat of Catalonia – the organisation in charge of staging the race – has confirmed they are working with F1 officials to extend their contract beyond 2026, which indicates it is seen as a viable option for the future rather than Barcelona being replaced.
“If there can be grands prix in other places, that is a question for F1,” Aragones said. “We maintain an excellent relationship with F1 and we are working on extending the long-term contract, but we still have three years of contract and we have a lot of time left.”