The Spanish Grand Prix is set to relocate to Madrid starting in 2026 under a 10-year contract. This leaves the iconic Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, the event’s home since 1991, struggling with a future as discussions about its continue.
The announcement, made on Tuesday morning by F1, shows the plans for the new venue in Madrid. The proposed 5.47km hybrid circuit will weave through both street and non-street sections, encompassing the IFEMA fairgrounds and convention center situated to the north-east of the city.
The track design, subject to FIA approval, has 20 corners and plans for a lap time of 1 minute and 32 seconds.
The venue, is well-connected by public transport and is initially set to accommodate 110,000 spectators, with plans for an expansion to 140,000 over the initial half of the contract.
The IFEMA facility, operated by a consortium of public bodies, expressed excitement for hosting F1, with the authorities fully endorsing the project.
Stefano Domenicali, F1 CEO, lauded Madrid’s rich sporting and cultural heritage, thanking IFEMA MADRID, the regional government, and the city’s mayor for presenting a proposal.
The 10-year comes with the trend of long-term race contracts, putting Madrid alongside Australia (2035) and Bahrain (2036) in securing F1’s future.
While the Madrid move an exciting chapter for F1 in Spain, Barcelona’s hangs in the balance. The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya has been a stalwart host since 1991, making it one of the longest-serving tracks on the calendar.
However, the shift towards city-based circuits, by the addition of Miami and Las Vegas, questions about the future of traditional permanent tracks like Barcelona.
Lewis Hamilton, the seven-time world champion, addressed the importance of retaining classic tracks like Barcelona.
The Barcelona track has faced criticism for its lack of overtaking opportunities and outdated infrastructure, but discussions with race promoters are ongoing.
The 2026 Madrid circuit is designed to be one of the most accessible and sustainable races on the F1 calendar, addressing the sport’s reaching net-zero carbon by 2030.
FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem said the enticing prospect of modern F1 cars racing in the Spanish capital while applauding the organizers’ focus on environmental sustainability.
José Vicente de los Mozos, president of the executive committee of IFEMA MADRID, expressed his excitement for hosting a major F1 event after more than four decades, envisioning a Grand Prix that becomes a reference worldwide.
Madrid’s leaders, including Isabel Díaz Ayuso and Jose Luis Martínez-Almeida, underlined the predicted impact and the opportunity to show Madrid’s energy, character, and passion on the global stage.
As F1 continues to expand its footprint in international cities, the move to Madrid shows a shift towards street-focused circuit layouts.
The upcoming 5.47km track, with its mix of street and non-street sections, follows this trend, with Liberty Media’s vision since acquiring F1 in 2017.
The Madrid Grand Prix is to become a major spectacle, mixing sport and entertainment to deliver a memorable experience for fans and teams.
The 10-year commitment shows a long-term partnership that extends into the era of FIA’s 2026 Formula 1 regulations, framed with net-zero carbon by 2030 in mind.