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Madrid to host Spanish F1 GP from 2026

By AFP

January 23, 2024 07:29 PM


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Madrid will replace Barcelona as the host of the Spanish Grand Prix from 2026 on a new circuit that will have both street and non-street sectors, Formula One organisers announced Tuesday.

The new 5.47-kilometre (3.39 mile) circuit will be built in and around Madrid's IFEMA exhibition centre in the northeast of the Spanish capital and it will feature 20 corners, organisers said in a statement.

It will have the capacity to host over 110,000 spectators a day initially, with plans to expand the capacity to 140,000 "making Madrid one of the largest venues on the F1 calendar", the statement added.

The deal, which runs until 2035, means the Madrid region will host the country's grand prix for the first time since 1981, when the Jarama circuit north of the capital held the event.

"Madrid doesn't just aspire to host a Formula One Grand Prix, it wants to host the best Formula One Grand Prix in the world," Madrid mayor Jose Luis Martinez-Almeida said at the official presentation of the event.

The event is forecast to create 8,200 jobs and boost Madrid's gross domestic product by over 450 million euros ($489 million) per year.

"It is one of the world's biggest sports events and we are proud that it is returning to Madrid after more than four decades. It was not an easy task," said the head of the regional government of Madrid, Isabel Diaz Ayuso.

Formula One -- which is aiming to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2030 -- said 90 percent of  spectators would be able to travel to the race on public transport via metro, commuter trains and buses, which will make it "one of the calendar's most accessible races".

"Madrid is an incredible city with amazing sporting and cultural heritage, and today's announcement begins an exciting new chapter for F1 in Spain," F1 president Stefano Domenicali said.

Barcelona has been home to F1 in Spain for over three decades, since replacing Jerez, which staged the Spanish Grand Prix from 1986-1990.

Domenicali said talks were ongoing with Barcelona about the possibility of the city hosting a race in addition to Madrid.

Formula One has accommodated two races in Spain before -- the country also hosted the European Grand Prix on a street circuit in Valencia from 2008-2012.

The sport has a huge following in the country. Spaniards Carlos Sainz, who was born and raised in Madrid, and two-time world champion Fernando Alonso are two of Formula One's most popular drivers.


AFP


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