Formula 1 has announced that the Spanish Grand Prix would be changing venues in 2026. The race, which has always been held in Barcelona, would from 2026 hold in Madrid at the new circuit at the Ifema exhibition centre. This move marks a departure from the traditional Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, which has hosted the race since 1991. The new track, spanning 5.47km, will wind its way through the Spanish capital.
The agreement between Formula 1 and Madrid, extending until 2035, marks a return of the Spanish Grand Prix to the capital for the first time since 1981. During the previous stint in Madrid, the Jarama circuit hosted the event. The new circuit will incorporate both street-circuit and road-course elements, with a layout featuring 20 corners. This hybrid design aims to provide an engaging and challenging track for drivers and an exciting spectacle for fans.
The event’s strategic location is designed to facilitate public transportation access for fans, with an estimated 90% expected to reach the venue via metro and train lines. This approach aligns with Formula 1’s broader sustainability goals, emphasizing accessibility and reducing the carbon footprint associated with attending races.
The Madrid Grand Prix is poised to become one of the largest events on the Formula 1 calendar in terms of capacity. Initial plans accommodate 110,000 fans per day, with future expansions targeting a capacity of 140,000. Despite the relocation, talks with Barcelona are ongoing, leaving the possibility open for the city to host an additional race alongside Madrid.
The shift to Madrid comes at a time when interest in Formula 1 has experienced a resurgence in Spain. The return of two-time world champion Fernando Alonso and Carlos Sainz, who won the race in Singapore last year, and prominence with Ferrari have contributed to the sport’s renewed popularity in the country.