Madrid deal doesn’t mean the end for Barcelona

Madrid deal doesn't mean the end for Barcelona


Despite a 10-year deal to host the Spanish Grand Prix on a street track in Madrid, F1 CEO, Stefano Domenicali claims this doesn’t mean the end of the road for the sport at the Circuit de Catalunya.

Over the years the Barcelona track has seen off Jerez and Valencia, and though Bahrain now has the rights to pre-season testing, the Circuit de Catalunya remains a favourite with fans and drivers.

The sport’s popularity in Spain took a nosedive when Fernando Alonso appeared to walk away from F1, but with his return, not to mention Carlos Sainz in the Ferrari, interest in the sport is increasing, which is no doubt how the deal was sold to the Madrid authorities.

Though it is unlikely that Spain will host two races in the same way that Germany did during the Schumacher years, Domenicali insists there remains a future for Barcelona.

“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 tells the sport’s official website.

“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.”

According to the site, Spain had a total season TV audience of 77m last year, which is around 3.5m per race on average and an 84% increase versus the previous year. Indeed, with Alonso claiming podiums in five of the opening six races, claims that over 10m watched last year’s Grand Prix.

“Spain was a market that just a couple of years ago, was not in the centre of our eyes,” admits Domenicali. “Now it is very important. We signed a new deal with Spanish broadcaster DAZN until at least the end of 2026.

“It’s a nice problem to have, to have multiple cities, some in the same country, wanting to host a Grand Prix,” he adds. “It shows the value of our proposition. But we need to keep focused on the reason for our success and make sure we aren’t complacent.”

Referring to the length of the Madrid deal, he says: “It’s a long time. 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. Now all our new deals are going in the direction of being very long. And if they are short, there is a reason.”


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