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Madrid doesn’t mean end for Barcelona – Domenicali

Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali says the confirmation of Madrid as the host of the Spanish Grand Prix from 2026 onwards does not mean Barcelona will definitely drop off the calendar.

Madrid was announced as becoming the home of the Spanish race from 2026 until 2035 inclusive on Tuesday morning, building a part-street circuit around the IFEMA Madrid events and exhibition venue. While the first year of the contract clashes with the final year of the deal to race at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Domenicali says the current host could still remain on the schedule.

“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,” 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.”

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Domenicali says the long-term deal for Madrid allows it to invest heavily in a large event, with a promise of creating a capacity of 140,000 by the mid-point of the ten-year contract.

“It’s great news for Formula 1 as it shows once again that there is strong appetite around the world for our sport. 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.

“They have presented a fascinating project, one that will be built in the next couple of years and a project that is considering the fans and their whole experience, from their travel to the whole event experience. The proposition we received from the promoter was great. Since the first day, it has been an open discussion of what this event can be.

“I’m very pleased that it’s a deal that takes us to 2035 – it’s a long time. This is the objective as F1, with either new or more established promoters. It allows everyone involved to plan the future and invest in the future as it is a guarantee for the promoter, for our partners, for our teams and for our sport. It gives everyone long-term visibility.

“If you look at the past, the renewals were two years, three years or five years maximum. Now all our new deals are going in the direction of being very long. And if they are short, there is a reason.”

The F1 boss adds the interest from so many venues gives him a welcome challenge of trying to balance demand with the calendar.

“Spain was a market that just a couple of years ago, was not in the centre of our eyes. Now it is very important. We signed a new deal with Spanish broadcaster DAZN until at least the end of 2026.

“It’s a nice problem to have, to have multiple cities – some in the same country – wanting to host a grand prix. It shows the value of our proposition. But we need to keep focused on the reason for our success and make sure we aren’t complacent.”

Story originally appeared on Racer