‘F1 going in the direction of Formula E’ – Damon Hill expresses fear over F1 calendar

Sam Cooper
Damon Hill and the Madrid GP venue.

Damon Hill wondered if 2026 engine regulations were affecting circuit choices.

Damon Hill has warned Formula 1 is heading in the direction of Formula E after another city-based track was added to the calendar.

Madrid became the newest venue on the F1 calendar on Tuesday when it was confirmed for a 2026 slot but the feedback was not overwhelmingly positive.

While the Spanish capital is no doubt a good place to race, it is the street circuit that has some, including 1996 World Champion Hill, concerned.

F1 becoming Formula E warns Damon Hill

The Formula E calendar features a number of city races including the likes of Tokyo, Berlin and London and now F1 appears to be heading in that direction with Madrid joining existing races at Baku, Miami, Vegas, Melbourne and Monaco.

Hill believes that should be a worry for F1 fans.

“I like to watch the sport. I like to watch the developments,” he said on the Sky Sports F1 podcast. “The thing that I would just add on the Madrid announcement is that we’ve got new engine regulations coming in and then the talk is of the difficulties they’re going to have in extracting consistent performance from the cars.

“So this move towards a tighter, twistier circuit, you know, it is going in the direction of let’s say Formula E which has chosen to have its races in city centres and also on very, it has to be said, restricted circuits.

“So I hope that’s not an indication of a few concessions made towards the fact that these cars are going to be down on performance compared to where they are now.

“With the race in Vegas, we had a very annoyed Max Verstappen talking about the nature of circuits and the kind of circuits you’d like to race on. But the fact is that Formula 1 has to adapt to new demands placed on it from a car manufacturing point of view as well as a government imposing correct environmental questions.

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“I hope it’ll be an exciting circuit and the most important thing is that the racing is exciting and the cars can race there and then we’ll be happy.”

Hill did concede that tracks in the middle of cities made for a better fan experience but also said historic circuits like Spa were not too different in their early days.

“You want variety and I think that on balance, having a circuit that is close to a major city centre is a good thing,” he continued. “Because it does improve all of the experience that you’re going to get if you go to a grand prix.

“But we do need also to keep the Spas and stuff. I mentioned Spa, of course Spa was actually a street circuit. Roads that joined towns in the Ardennes.

“So that’s how they originally raced on it and in fact, a lot of the races that Formula 1 or motorsport started on were just roads, so this is nothing new.

“In effect, it’s a kind of a bespoke circuit inside a city but that’s how motor racing started and closed loop circuit specialist tracks like Barcelona were actually quite a newish invention.”

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