Barcelona 'convinced' of F1 future despite Madrid move

Sergio Perez (MEX) Red Bull Racing RB19. 03.06.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 8, Spanish Grand Prix, Barcelona, Spain, Qualifying Day. -, EMail: © Copyright: Batchelor / XPB Images
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Local government ministers remain convinced that there is a place for the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on the Formula 1 calendar despite last week's announcement about the future of the Spanish GP.

F1 officially confirmed that from 2026 the race will move to a semi-urban street track in Madrid, taking place on a circuit taking in many of the capital city's landmarks and tourist attractions.

F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali insisted that this did not necessarily mean the end of the road for the existing venue, although the official announcement made no mention of Barcelona's future.

“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,” Dominicali was reported as telling in answer to questions.

And Catalunya's business manager Roger Torrent says he is confident that the region's purpose-built permanent facility was still in wich a chance of keeping a spot on the schedule

“I am convinced that there will be a renewal of the contract,” he told Catalan radio station RAC1 this week. "We will have two fantastic Grands Prix," he added.

“We have an excellent relationship with Formula 1 and we are working on that basis," he said, insisting that whether Madrid got to keep the 'Spanish GP' title was irrelevent. “The name is not important.”

“In 2024 we will have a Grand Prix, and - as Domenicali himself has recognised - our excellent relationship is the basis that makes us work on the renewal that I am convinced will occur.”

"We don’t pay attention to others," he said. “There is a lot of pressure in general and a lot of competitiveness, but Formula 1 is comfortable with us.

Circuit atmosphere - Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Ferrari fans in the grandstand.
03.06.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 8, Spanish Grand Prix, Barcelona, Spain, Qualifying Day.
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“The relationship between Formula 1 and Catalonia will be decided only by Formula 1 and Catalonia," Torrens continued. “We have been talking for a long time, but we follow our own rhythm."

Torrens said that the key factor was ensuring a long term future for F1 in Catalunya rather than short term stop gap contracts. “For us, the longer the better,” he argued.

While it seems likely that there will could be two Grand Prix races in Spain long term given the pressure for spots on the calendar, there will be at least one year of 'overlap' in 2026 - and it won't be the first time.

It will be the first time there have been two races in the country since 2012 when the European GP was held in Valencia for the fifth and final time, the same year Barcelona also hosted the official Spanish event.

Long term thinking is vital if the logal promoters are to be able to fund their ambitious plans to press ahead with updating and modernising the facilities at the circuit.

“We are modernising the facilities, the infrastructure, which was already needed,” Torrent explained. “We are turning it into the best permanent circuit in Europe and probably in the world.”

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