Lewis Hamilton’s wish looks set to be ignored by F1 bosses with the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya’s place on the calendar now at serious risk. On Tuesday, it was announced that a new part-street circuit on the streets of Madrid would host the Spanish Grand Prix from 2026 onwards.
This announcement follows a recent trend that has seen traditional, purpose-built racetracks drop off the calendar in favour of street circuits in new locations. A decade ago, street circuits were a rare and treasured part of the schedule, but now they make up almost a third of all races.
Recent additions have included the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix – held on a fast-flowing track on the streets of Jeddah – and the Las Vegas Grand Prix, which was the show-stopping headline event of the 2023 season. With Madrid now joining the calendar, fans can look forward to seeing F1 cars race at another new location.
However, this announcement was not popular with F1’s hardcore fan base, who are concerned about the future of historic purpose-built circuits. This is a concern shared by seven-time world champion Hamilton, who spoke out about the future of Barcelona’s circuit when rumours about a Madrid street race emerged last season.
“As long as it’s not like Valencia was, which wasn’t the most enjoyable track to drive,” Hamilton explained. “I don’t think I would want to lose Barcelona. One, I love the city. I do think it’s really important we keep some of the classic circuits.
“At least the ones that provide great racing. Budapest is spectacular. Silverstone is spectacular. This track as well. There are a lot of really great original circuits that we should keep.
“Maybe some that don’t provide the greatest racing, we should maybe switch those out. I just think about the heritage of the sport and we’ve got to make sure we hold onto those which I think are the pillars of what this sport is in my opinion.”
Unfortunately for Hamilton, it looks inevitable that the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya will drop off the calendar when Madrid takes over hosting duties in 2026, despite rumours suggesting that talks are ongoing to keep both tracks on the calendar.
However, race rotation with another European circuit is likely the only way that could be sanctioned as the current schedule of 24 Grands Prix in a year is already pushing drivers and team personnel to breaking point.