Barcelona Secures 5-Year Formula 1 Race Deal for Spanish Grand Prix

·3 min read
Photo credit: JAVIER SORIANO - Getty Images
Photo credit: JAVIER SORIANO - Getty Images

A city famous for its culture, art and sport will continue to host Formula 1 Grands Prix through at least the 2026 season.

Formula 1 confirmed on Friday that a new five-year deal has been agreed for the championship’s Spanish Grand Prix to remain at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. The circuit, located in the district of Montmeló to the north of the city, has held Formula 1 races since 1991, the year of its construction.

Only Britain’s Silverstone, Hungary’s Hungaroring and Italy’s Monza have had longer unbroken streaks on Formula 1’s calendar. Spain’s extension is the latest in a series of deals recently agreed by Formula 1 as it continues to shape its calendar long-term.

Miami is joining as a second U.S. event next year while Saudi Arabia and Qatar have signed 10-year deals. Russia’s round will move from Sochi to Igora Drive from 2023 while China is due to return on a three-year deal to make up for the canceled 2020-22 events. Next year’s schedule will feature 23 events and there are expectations that could swell to 25 in future seasons.

Photo credit: JAVIER SORIANO - Getty Images
Photo credit: JAVIER SORIANO - Getty Images

The future of the Spanish Grand Prix appeared uncertain in recent years owing to the greater involvement of the city council, regional politics and the desire to make the event more profitable.

Its multi-year deal expired in 2019 but in both 2020 and 2021 it received one-year reprieves to remain part of the schedule. 2020’s round was held without a crowd while only 1,000 fans were permitted access to 2021’s race in May owing to the pandemic. Officials outlined they were working towards a revised multi-year contract.

Earlier this week the government in Catalonia—the autonomous region in which the circuit is located—gave the green light for race promoters to sign a new deal with Formula 1.

Spain has two drivers on the grid, with two-time champion Fernando Alonso at Alpine and Carlos Sainz at Ferrari.

As part of the new agreement improvements will be made to the facilities and the circuit while also contributing to its sustainability plans.

“We are delighted to announce this deal with Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya,” said Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali. “I want to thank to promoter and the authorities for their enthusiasm and commitment to keeping Formula 1 in Barcelona, with improvements that will be made to the track and facilities, and continuing our long history together.”

The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya has never been among the most popular venues on the schedule; racing has often been tricky due to its layout and that means Grands Prix have often been strategic rather than sensational. A total of 23 of the 31 races there have been won from pole position and all but three from the front row. Lewis Hamilton has won the race five years on the bounce.

The circuit’s last major revision came in 2007, when a chicane that proved unpopular was installed, though the Turn 10 left-hander was reprofiled for 2021.

Spain’s contract extension is the latest in a series of deals recently agreed by Formula 1 as it continues to shape its calendar long-term. Miami is joining as a second U.S. event next year while Saudi Arabia and Qatar have signed 10-year deals. Russia’s round will move from Sochi to Igora Drive from 2023 while China is due to return on a three-year deal to make up for the cancelled 2020-22 events.

Next year’s schedule will feature 23 events and there are expectations that could swell to 25 in future seasons.