Barcelona’s rooftop revolution: A 50m bid to outshine Madrid

The Circuit de Catalunya is deploying a substantial investment of 50 million euros in a bid to maintain its place on the Formula 1 calendar, amidst competition from a new project in Madrid set to debut in 2026, the concluding year of Barcelona’s existing contract.

While Formula 1 remains open to the idea of renewing Barcelona’s contract, any future agreements may involve the race sharing the spotlight with another European circuit on a rotational basis. Indeed, Madrid is gearing up with high hopes of becoming the exclusive venue for Spain’s Formula 1 race from 2027.

“The optimism is ours,” insisted Josep Lluis Santamaria, the Circuit de Catalunya’s track director, in a statement to Spanish media who were onsite to observe the ongoing renovations, which are projected to reach 50 million euros by 2026.

“For MotoGP we will have finished everything on the terrace, the pit building, the control power and almost the entire rooftop structure, which will be completed in time for F1,” Santamaria explained, referring to the work scheduled around the MotoGP event in late May and the Spanish Grand Prix approximately a month thereafter.

Barcelona is taking a significant leap with the ‘Rooftop’ feature straddling the back straight of the track, aiming to impress Formula 1 authorities and secure the circuit’s future beyond 2026.

Santamaria emphasized the global precedent for hosting multiple grands prix within a single country, questioning, “There are countries that have up to three grands prix, like the United States. Why can’t you have two in Spain?” He added, “Stefano Domenicali has already mentioned the possibility, as is the case in Italy. We are diligently working towards ensuring Formula 1’s presence here for many years to come.”

The director also highlighted the frequent interactions with Formula 1 officials, stating, “The contacts we have (with F1) are continuous. Every week we have meetings with commercial teams, with the promotion team. We’re eager to demonstrate the quality of our work this year.”

Following the announcement of the Madrid GP, discussions with F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali and the engineering team have intensified, with recent meetings in London and on-site visits impressing the F1 team with the pace of Barcelona’s advancements, Santamaria insisted.

One key requirement from Formula 1 is for Barcelona to enhance race promotion through city-wide festival events. Santamaria revealed plans are underway, noting improvements in relations with the Barcelona council, “You will soon have information on what will be done in the city. Last year, there were already activities, and this year will be no different. The changes in government have greatly improved our ability to organize joint events with the city.”

GMM

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