Thirteen-time Grand Prix winner David Coulthard said he could not keep a straight face when seeing the claim that 90 per cent of fans could reach the Madrid Grand Prix via public transport was used as justification.
Following months of speculation, it is now confirmed that Formula 1’s Spanish Grand Prix will have a new home from 2026, as the event heads to Madrid to be contested around a circuit which will be constructed using a mixture of public roads and purpose-built track.
Coulthard has since been scanning through the details of the successful bid, his eye caught by the fact public transport was included in the justification for a Madrid Grand Prix.
David Coulthard has a ‘giggle’ over Madrid GP public transport talk
The metro, trains and buses are set to account for 90 per cent of fan transportation for the event, though Coulthard has reservations over this being high up the pros list, suggesting the quality of the on-track action would be a far stronger pull factor in his mind.
“Clearly Madrid wanted it badly enough to submit a tender and design and commission and go about building a racetrack,” Coulthard told Total-Motorsport.com.
“So as Formula 1 looks to grow, its growth is going to come through commercial rights deals, and for the fans, they [Liberty Media] obviously feel it’s better in Madrid.
“My takeaway from the announcement was that 90 per cent of the fans can arrive there by public transport. That’s all very nice for the politicians and the greens, but I don’t think it’s the first thing that race fans think about when they go to a Grand Prix, ‘can I get there by using the bus and the train network?’
“I think the main thing is, ‘Is this going be a great experience? Does [it] give me value for my hard-earned money? And I am going to go away feeling I’ve got a life-changing or life-enhancing experience’, [which] is probably [what] I think people like myself [want] when I invest money in tickets to go see events or a concert. I want to be entertained; I want to be in a happy place.
“So I had to giggle when I saw the [public transport claim as] one of the justifications for the Madrid bid.”
Not since 1981 has Formula 1 gone racing in Madrid when Jarama last hosted the Spanish Grand Prix, the event having run exclusively at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya since 1991.