Efforts being stepped up to restore Jarama to the Formula 1 calendar

Jon Wilde
Gilles Villeneuve leads the Spanish Grand Prix. Jarama June 1980.

Gilles Villeneuve leads the Spanish Grand Prix in his Ferrari. Jarama June 1980.

Circuito del Jarama, just north of Madrid, is stepping up its efforts to return to the Formula 1 calendar after an absence of 41 years and counting.

Local officials appear open to the idea of hosting an additional race in the country rather than taking the Spanish Grand Prix away from Barcelona.

In June, a letter was sent to Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali by Enrique Lopez, a cabinet minister for the Community of Madrid, expressing formal interest in staging a grand prix.

Now it is being reported that the Jarama venue, which held the Spanish Grand Prix on 11 occasions between 1967 and 1981, is to be upgraded to make it eligible to host Formula 1 and MotoGP.

Isabel Diaz Ayuso, president of the Community of Madrid, said at a press conference that attempts to procure a grand prix were not being made “to the detriment of Catalunya”, with Barcelona having a contract to host the Spanish Grand Prix through to 2026.

However, Ayuso added that while it remains “very early” in the discussions, “the FIA are interested and we are working precisely with them to analyse how we should start this important adventure”.

Quoted by Marca, Ayuso added: “Spain could have two grands prix or none at all. We don’t want to compete with anyone in this sense.”

The cost of such a project is estimated at 50 million euro, with Ayuso adding: “We want to talk to all the public and private institutions related to these competitions so it can also be in Madrid, because I am convinced it would be a great success.”

Jarno Zaffelli, head of Dromo Circuit Design who got Zandvoort back into shape for its F1 return, is reported to have already carried out an assessment of Jarama which would include lengthening the track by 300 metres to 4.1km.

He is also reported to have indicated it would be much more cost-effective to redevelop Jarama than to construct a temporary street circuit in Madrid.

“We at Dromo are working with many circuits that have the same characteristics as Jarama,” said Zaffelli. “Not only in Europe but practically all over the world.

“We don’t start from a blank sheet of paper but we try to take advantage of everything that exists, making it safe but keeping the same essence and ensuring the layout doesn’t lose its identity.

“We don’t have to redo things to make them perfect but, according to us, it has to have the same challenges it had before, with the necessary improvements to adapt it to the present day.”

In the 11 Spanish Grands Prix held at Jarama there were 10 different winners, with the only multiple victor being Mario Andretti in 1977-78.

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