Madrid looking to lure Formula 1 away from Barcelona as politician sends Domenicali letter

Barcelona has hosted the Spanish Grand Prix since 1991.

Football’s El Clasico is usually the first thing that comes to mind when a rivalry between Madrid and Barcelona is brought up, but things are a little different this time.

Barcelona has been the exclusive host of the Spanish Grand Prix since 1991 when it took over from Jerez, and it has been the chosen venue of 32 races.

This year saw a fiasco in Spain when fans were left stranded at the circuit in baking heat, with insufficient transport to and from the track making for a painful experience for spectators.

There was not enough staff at the track to deal with the entry and exit of those who had gone to watch the Spanish Grand Prix, and the Circuit de Catalunya has totally underestimated the demand as it welcomed fans back to the track at full capacity for the first time since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Madrid is now hoping to swoop in and take the rights to host the race away from Barcelona to become the new home of the Spanish Grand Prix.

The Jarama Circuit in Spain’s capital played host to nine races between 1968 and 1981 when it alternated with Montjuic, which is also in Barcelona, as the host.

Enrique Lopez, local cabinet minister, wrote to Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali to express the city’s interest in re-joining the calendar.

“I would like to confirm our commitment to you and to this project, as well as our willingness to sign the appropriate agreements to promote the race and offer a great sporting and entertainment spectacle,” he said.

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Morata de Tajuna, which is just south of Madrid, intends to build a grade one racetrack that would be given clearance by the FIA to host F1 and MotoGP races.

Currently, Barcelona has the hosting right of the Spanish Grand Prix until 2026, so, if a deal is struck between Madrid and F1, they would have five years to either build a new circuit or renovate Jarama which, currently, is not adequate to host a race.