FIA official admits ‘political will’ for Formula 1 to race in Madrid

The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is reportedly on the chopping block, as officials look at a new street race in Madrid.

Amidst growing speculation that Madrid could replace Barcelona as the host of the Spanish Grand Prix, a top official from the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) has played down the rumours.

Carmelo Sanz de Barros, who is also the president of Spain’s automobile club Real Automovil Club de Espana, dismissed the notion, stating that there is currently no approved circuit or firm proposal for a Madrid event.

“There’s a lot of noise but the circuit has not been approved and there is no firm proposal,” de Barros said.

However, De Barros did acknowledge the existence of “political will” to organise a race in Madrid, a sentiment echoed by F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali. 

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Domenicali warned Barcelona that it must improve its offerings if it wants to extend the current race deal beyond 2026. However, de Barros emphasised that Madrid’s plans are not yet at an advanced stage.

“The first request would be to the Spanish federation and then to the FIA. Then the commercial proposal would go to Formula One Management (FOM),” de Barros explained. 

“I can confirm that there is nothing for now, and due to the political situation, the situation will continue like this until September at least.”

De Barros reassured that Barcelona’s Spanish Grand Prix is not in doubt, as both the FIA and FOM have a history of fulfilling their contracts. 

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Manuel Avino, another prominent Spanish motor racing and FIA official, expressed the desire to avoid a conflict between Barcelona and Madrid over hosting rights.

“What interests us is keeping it in Spain, and if there can be two races, even better. We had two in Spain not so long ago, with Barcelona and Valencia,” Avino remarked. 

However, Domenicali downplayed the possibility of multiple races in Spain, while FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem acknowledged it as a potential option.

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“I like this country, and the interest in having more than one Grand Prix is good news,” Ben Sulayem stated. 

“In fact, there could be two or even three,” he added with a smile, referring to his meetings in Barcelona with a delegation from Jerez.”

While the future of the Spanish Grand Prix remains uncertain, discussions continue among FIA officials, FOM, and various stakeholders to determine the best course of action for the sport’s presence in Spain.