Fans ‘gasping for water’: F1 threatens Spanish GP

When Formula 1 arrived at the Circuit de Catalunya in 1991, the atmosphere on race day was similar to a test. Fans were scarce and there were no Spanish drivers of note to excite the audience.The arrival of Fernando Alonso changed the ‘bike mad nation’ and sowed the seeds for a Spanish F1 fan base.

Following his move to Ferrari, the following winter test in Jerez saw nigh on 40,000 spectators each day turn up to see their compatriot drive round and round, just shaking down the car.

Alonso is the father of F1 in Spain

Yet the recent future of the race in the Barcelona suburb of Montmelo was in doubt for a variety of reasons until a new contract was signed November 2021. The promotors now have a deal until 2026 but have fallen under the scrutiny of the F1 commercial rights holders after the fans experienced utter chaos this weekend.

Supporters  told Ted Kravitz live on Sky Sports that trains had been repeatedly cancelled from the city and that they were “crushed” due to the number of people allowed on each service. Further, people travelling by car suffered queues of several hours to get to the circuit and the turnstiles were undermanned creating huge lines of people attempting to gain entry  into the circuit.

Verstappen ‘illegal fuel’ row at the Spanish GP

F1 have issued a statement in recognition of these difficulties and instruct the promoters of the Spanish GP to get their act together.

“The huge number of fans at this event both inside and outside the circuit created the traffic issues for the fans.

“We have made the promoter aware that this is not acceptable and must be fixed for next season.”

Yet the real picture was worse than mere travel difficulties as some fans told Ted Kravitz they were unable to even access water from the concession stands whilst suffering the scorching heat.

As the demand for tickets grew, the promoters facilitated extra grandstands but clearly failed to provide the appropriate facilities required for such a crowd.

The record attendance is a vindication of the promoters new deal but they have been warned by F1 in a statement to get their act together.

The popularity of this years Spanish GP is testament to the new found interest in Formula 1 since Ecclestone retired and Liberty media shouldered the reigns for promoting the sport into a new dimension.

But given the line of new race promoters wanting to host Formula 1, the mañana attitude that is prevalent in Spanish society needs to change – and change quickly.

6 responses to “Fans ‘gasping for water’: F1 threatens Spanish GP

    • It’s not Sainz of Rally, so he does not made any signifficant impact on the fans

  1. We attended Barcelona at the weekend and were appalled at the lack of facilities at the F1. We attended on Saturday for qualifying as struggled to get out of the circuit to the bus or train stations where the waits were four hours, people were collapsing in the queues in the heat with no water available. After five hours and an expensive taxi ride we made it back to Barcelona and decided it was t worth taking the risk the next day for the race so our tickets were wasted after great expense. Something needs to be done as fans work hard to earn the money for these races and deserve to be treated well.

  2. I attended qualifying Saturday and the race on Sunday and didn’t experience any of the issues others have said about. We used a rental car for the weekend and took less than 1 hour to travel from Central Barcelona on each day, took a little longer coming from the circuit Sunday but was to be expected. The queuing to get into the circuit through the turnstiles was swift and well controlled, with water stations located on the walkways and vendors selling water up and down the queue.

  3. I attended my 1st Grand prix in 30 years having attended Silverstone for my 40th ( Mansel days ) with my older children. Decided this year as we live in southern Spain to go to the Spanish grand prix, mainly for my youngest daughter ( 12 ). Qualifying day we decided to walk most of the track to find the best vantage point We shortlisted the grass long bank before turn 4 by the bridge and the small fenced in area at turn 1 at the end of the pit lane for race day. We decided on turn 1 a great view of the cars coming down the straight and in to turn 1 and disappearing. We were there by 7.30 put our blanket, chairs and leaning umbrella on the floor in place. Plenty of space but the small area was already getting busy. As race time approached it started to get rwally busy. Being a fenced in area it got very squashed as more people squeezed in. Impossible to go to the toilet or getting something to eat. The queen prior to the race n qualifying for the toilets ( particularly for the ladies ), food n water desperately needed with the heat were horrendous, ridiculous. Having sat in our car for over 2 hours on qualifying day when leaving, we stayed behind after the race following the Premiership scores before and still found ourselves in slow moving traffic. The pluses of the weekend, the atmosphere of being there watching it live. The minuses, nreasonable quees for everything. The screen with leaderboard was impossible to read and I have good eyesight, making it difficult ro follow the race. Who had pitted. Distinguishing if the car was example Verstappen or Perez because the numbers on the cars are to small. They really should put a restriction on the numbers entering at area at turn 1. Go early. Leave late. Take your own food n drinks.

  4. I was most surprised that the circuit campsite was not open as I had been relying on staying there in my camper van for the race weekend as I had done on several occasions before, there was a different small site but this was of course full up. I did watch the practice sessions on Thursday after finding a parking space in Parking F after driving around for a couple of hours but as overnight parking was not allowed I left the circuit for a campsite stayed there and watched the qualifying and race from the comfort of the bar.
    Given the conditions and organization at the race this turned out to be a better solution. I had a 3day ticket and was told all holders of these tickets had to enter the circuit at gate 7 why, this led to huge queues there whilst over gates where relatively quiet.
    Another point is that few of the officials spoke English or French, Or had any idea of what was going on I fully understand that this is Spain, I’m not a little Englander as I actually live in France an immigrant not Expat but I would have thought that for such an international event basic English would be a requirement for the officials.

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