PlanetF1.com understands Juan Pablo Montoya’s claim that a Colombian Grand Prix agreement was “95% done” is wide of the mark.
Requests to be on the Formula 1 calendar are at an all-time high with the sport enjoying a purple patch in terms of its financial benefits.
But, as much as promoters and governments may want to be on the schedule, there is a balancing act between races and overworking the teams.
Colombia was ‘95%’ done suggests Juan Pablo Montoya
While the 2024 calendar has been decided, there is plenty of negotiation left to be had for the seasons beyond that.
In terms of the 2028 season put forward by Montoya, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Miami, Canada, Austria, Hungary, Qatar, Abu Dhabi and Singapore are confirmed to feature so if F1 is sticking to its 24-race limit, that leaves 14 venues to be handed out.
Traditional tracks like Silverstone will be expected to fill part of that quota but Formula 1 has not been afraid to move to new locations in an effort to attract new audiences.
Montoya has suggested that very thing by stating a potential Colombian Grand Prix was on the cards until “someone messed it up.”
“About eight months ago it was 95% done, but someone messed it up on something and I don’t know what,” he told Semana.com. “It may happen in the future. People believed that it was a trick, how ridiculous.”
Montoya, who is the most successful Colombian driver to race in F1, revealed he went with F1 staff to the proposed track in Barranquilla and that it was actually going to another Spanish-speaking city.
“I went with the Formula 1 people to Barranquilla, we looked at the track,” the seven-time race winner said. “Everything was done, the signature was missing and they were ready to sign. Maybe in 2028. They ended up giving the race to Madrid.”
PlanetF1.com however understands Montoya’s claim is grossly over exaggerated and talks for the potential grand prix only reached initial stages. Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali did indeed visit the city of Barranquilla in Colombia but that is common practice amongst potential race venues.
Additionally, a potential race in Madrid is also in these early stages of talks although PlanetF1.com understands nothing is decided yet past the expiration of the Spanish Grand Prix’s current contract in 2026.
A Madrid Grand Prix has been put forward before and José Vicente de los Mozos, the president of the company who controls the track, suggested a deal was on its way.
“I know when we’re going to sign it and when we’re going to do it,” said de los Mozos of a future race deal in comments reported by Europa Press.
“We have followed the process indicated to us. The Spanish Automobile Federation has been informed from the first moment, we have signed exclusivity, and now we are advancing with the contract.”
Madrid is also the host of the officially-sanctioned F1 Exhibition.