F1 to race in Madrid from 2026

Published: 23 January 2024 Updated: 23 January 2024

► F1 will racing in Madrid in 2026
► It’s another street circuit
► Barcelona could stay on the calendar

The F1 calendar has another new destination; from 2026 Formula One circus will now stop in Madrid, Spain. The news was announced at an event in the Spanish city earlier today, and sees a renewed focus on Europe after massive expansion in North America and the Middle East.

‘It’s great news for Formula 1 as it shows once again that there is strong appetite around the world for our sport,’ Stefano Domenicali, President and CEO of Formula One told formula1.com. ‘It shows that at a moment where Europe is perceived to be a place that is not ready to invest in our sport, Madrid and others are showing it is.’

Another street circuit? 

As you’d expect from Formula One, the Madrid round will take place on yet another street circuit – this time around the IFEMA exhibition centre. Look at the image below and it appears to be mixture of medium straights and award chicanes – much like a Formula E circuit.

Domeniciali says the project has secured a deal from 2026 to 2035 inclusive, with the promoter’s investment set to bring in six-figure crowds from scratch.

According to F1, attendance is projected at 110,000 for year one with a forecast to 140,000 within five years. If it hits those numbers, it’ll be ahead of the British Grand Prix. 

‘I’m very pleased that it’s a deal that takes us to 2035 – it’s a long time,’ said Domenicali. ‘This is the objective as F1, with either new or more established promoters. It allows everyone involved to plan the future and invest in the future as it is a guarantee for the promoter, for our partners, for our teams and for our sport. It gives everyone long-term visibility.’

‘If you look at the past, the renewals were two years, three years or five years maximum,’ said the Formula One CEO and President. ‘Now all our new deals are going in the direction of being very long. And if they are short, there is a reason.’

Is it in Madrid? 

Sort of. The new venue is just 16km from the city centre, so this is more like Formula E’s London ePrix or New York ePrix than the F1 Las Vegas round, for example. 

What about Barcelona? 

The introduction of the Madrid race will now draw into question the existing Spanish GP in Barcelona. And although it may be one of the most long-standing GPs, it’s by no means safe. 

Unlike North America, which seemingly has the audience pull to attract three grand prix without question (Austin, Las Vegas and Miami) it’s likely Spain’s contribution to the growing F1 calendar is under more scrutiny.

Still, F1 boss Domenicali did not rule out having two races in Spain in the future – partly due to the popularity of Carlos Sainz Jr and Fernando Alonso: ‘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,’ he said. 

‘Looking ahead, there are discussions in place to see if we can really extend our collaboration with Barcelona, with whom we have a very good relationship, for the future.’

By Curtis Moldrich

CAR's Digital Editor, F1 and sim-racing enthusiast. Partial to clever tech and sports bikes