F1 signs ten-year deal to race in Madrid from 2026

Race will be staged on semi-permanent circuit around Ifema Madrid exhibition centre.
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  • Madrid secures F1 race until 2035
  • Spanish capital will not be replacing Barcelona on F1 schedule
  • Madrid aims to have 140k capacity by halfway point of contract

Formula One has confirmed Madrid will join the calendar from 2026 after signing a ten-year deal.

The race will be held on a semi-permanent track around the fairground of the Ifema Madrid exhibition centre, as revealed in December.

The expectation is that more than 110,000 fans per day will be able to attend, rising to 140,000 within the first half of this contract.

Madrid will not be replacing Barcelona on the Formula One calendar, the host of the Spanish Grand Prix since 1991. The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya’s current contract with the series expires after 2026, which will be the first year of the race in Madrid.

“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,” confirmed Formula One chief executive Stefano Domenicali.

“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.”

As things stand, the 2026 calendar looks set to feature races in Madrid and Barcelona, although it isn’t unusual for Formula One to stage more than one Grand Prix in the same country, with the US hosting three events and Italy hosting two this season.

Madrid last hosted a race in 1981, although this was held at the Circuito del Jarama, which is around 20 miles north of the Spanish capital.

Formula One claims this is a move with sustainability at its heart, with Ifema Madrid located just five minutes away from Madrid’s international airport.

Over the last five years, the exhibition centre has reduced its carbon footprint by 78 per cent – with plans in place to further slash its carbon emissions.

All of its buildings use 100 per cent certified renewable energy in all exhibition halls and any temporary structures built for the race will be constructed using recyclable materials. It is also looking to implement zero waste disposal at all sites by 2026.

Recently, Formula One has increased its focus on Spain, having announced an exclusive media rights deal with sports streaming subscription service DAZN until the end of the 2026 season.

Previous reports from Spanish daily sports newspaper Mundo Deportivo (MD) also indicated that MotoGP is interested in uniting with Formula One for a joint race weekend at the circuit.

BlackBook says…

This news follows the trend of Formula One turning its back on traditional race circuits in favour of ‘destination cities’, with the likes of Miami, Jeddah, and Las Vegas all joining the calendar in recent years.

While the argument for this change in approach is rooted in sustainability, the financial benefits of racing in city centres over negotiating with circuit promoters cannot be overlooked.

Indeed, the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is one of the most sustainable circuits in the world, ranking first and second in the two most recent studies by Enovation Consulting. With that in mind, motivations cannot purely be about sustainability if Barcelona drops off the schedule altogether.

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