The Spanish GP has a chequered history beginning way back in 1913. The event joined F1 in 1951 but was only held once more in 1954 before finding a more permanent home from 1967 in Jarama, Madrid.
The event occasionally alternated with Monjuic in Barcelona until the circuit de Jerez was complete and ready for the the 1986 Spanish GP.
Jerez survived just 5 years
Jerez survived just 5 years as host to the race before the Grand Prix was moved to Barcelona and the Circuit de Catalunya where it has hosted the Spanish GP ever since.
The track outside Barcelona in Montmelo is an all round test of an F1 cars capabilities and so was the base for pre-season F1 testing for a number of years.
However, as a spectacle the F1 races in Montmelo often leave a lot to be desired because overtaking opportunities are as scarce as in Monaco often leading to processional races.
Fiasco at 2022 Spanish GP
The 2022 event was heavily criticised as public transport to and from the circuit was infrequent, the vendors were too few and drinking water in short supply during an unusually hot weekend in May.
Today Madrid moves closer to joining the F1 calendar following talks between promoters and F1’s CEO Stefano Domenicali.
There are ambitious plans to build a new circuit where the Spanish GP could be held when the current contract in Catalunya expires in 2026.
Track layout change this year
As part of the bid to retain the Spanish GP the race organisers n Barcelona have already confirmed the Grand Prix will revert back to its original layout for 2023.
A chicane was added before the final corner in 2007 but this will be axed ahead of this year’s race in June. Spanish F1 champion Fernando Alonso was thrilled at the changes when asked about the new design in Bahrain while stressing he had an advantage due to his years behind the wheel.
He commented: “Yes, that’s the good thing about experience. I will be the only one. I think I raced on that layout for a few years, but I don’t know, with these cars, how it’s going to feel. Some of these guys probably they’ve been testing in winter with old cars there. So maybe they can give you an update on this.”
Goodbye to Barcelona
It’s unlikely that Spain will host two events so the advent of Madrid, is a challenge to status of Catalunya’s premier motorsport’s event.
Speaking at the launch of the F1 Exhibition in Madrid, Domenicali said: “They are working to bring a race here and F1 is delighted to have so many contenders, because this way we become more and more popular.”
— F/One (@FOne__2013) March 24, 2023