Formula 1
The Spanish Grand Prix will move to Madrid for the 2026 season after being held in Barcelona for the past 33 years. Florion Goga/Reuters

Formula 1 has announced that the Spanish Grand Prix will be held in the nation's capital, Madrid, from 2026 until 2035.

A deal has been struck between F1 and IFEMA MADRID for the new circuit in the Spanish capital to be built around the IFEMA Exhibition Centre. The circuit will feature 20 corners and be 5.47 kilometres long, whilst it will incorporate both traditional racing and street sections.

A key reason for this destination being chosen for the circuit is that it will be easily accessible to the fans. The Madrid-Barajas Airport will be just five minutes from the race venue and fans will be able to commute to the circuit in a short time through public transport options such as train and metro lines.

90 per cent of fans will be able to commute to the race venue through public transport and for those residing in a nearby hotel, they will require just a short walk to reach the circuit. Also, the venue will be just 16 kilometres from the city centre.

Many fans will be able to secure entry to the race weekend as it is estimated that over 110,000 people will be accommodated across the three-day event. There are even plans for the capacity to be expanded to 140,000 for each day of the race weekend.

The accessibility of the new circuit in Madrid will be a stark contrast to when the Grand Prix was previously held in the city. Between 1968 and 1981, the Circuito del Jarama in Madrid hosted the Spanish Grand Prix nine times, but the venue was difficult to reach as it was 20 miles north of the capital.

Madrid last hosted a Grand Prix 43 years ago, so bringing the F1 back to the city in 2026 will be a significant occasion for the city. It is also set to be a major boost for the city's economy as the event is set to generate close to £400 million each year.

Sustainability will be a big part of the new racetrack in Madrid as the temporary construction work required for the circuit will be built using recyclable materials. This is part of F1's goal to reach Net Zero Carbon by 2030 and IDEMA MADRID is committed to staging a sustainable sporting event when they begin hosting the Spanish Grand Prix in two years.

The news of Madrid returning to the F1 calendar comes amidst a recently revived interest in the sport in Spain. Spanish racer, Carlos Sainz Jr. is a reason for that increased popularity as he joined Ferrari for the 2021 season and has since picked up his first two career wins.

Also, two-time world champion and Spanish motor racing icon, Fernando Alonso, returned to the sport in 2021 after taking a two-year sabbatical. After joining Aston Martin for the 2023 season, Alonso impressed as he picked up eight podium finishes across the campaign and finished fourth in the Driver Standings.

President and CEO of Formula 1, Stefano Domenicali, spoke on the decision to award Madrid hosting rights for the Spanish Grand Prix from 2026. He said: "Madrid is an incredible city with amazing sporting and cultural heritage, and today's announcement begins an exciting new chapter for F1 in Spain."

Domenicali went on to say: "I would like to thank the team at IFEMA MADRID, the Regional Government of Madrid and the city's Mayor for putting together a fantastic proposal. It truly epitomises Formula 1's vision to create a multi-day spectacle of sport and entertainment that delivers maximum value for fans and embraces innovation and sustainability."

The Spanish Grand Prix has been taking place at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Barcelona since 1991. There is still a possibility of Barcelona remaining part of the F1 calendar in the future with discussions being had over Spain potentially hosting two races a season.

The 2024 F1 season will begin with the Bahrain Grand Prix on 2nd March, whilst the penultimate Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona will take place on 23rd June.