Lewis Hamilton reveals controversial take on an unloved F1 circuit

Thomas Maher
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton at the Spanish Grand Prix. Barcelona, June 2023.

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton at the Spanish Grand Prix. Barcelona, June 2023.

Lewis Hamilton wants to see Formula 1 stick around in Barcelona, as Madrid has been linked with a possible Grand Prix.

Hamilton has stood up for the future of racing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, as Madrid has been linked as a possible venue for a future Grand Prix.

Madrid is currently playing host to the F1 Exhibition, with the Ifema venue acting as a central hub for a potential street circuit around the Spanish city.

While Barcelona holds a contract with F1 through until 2026, its future appeared shaky in recent years despite its longevity on the calendar. The Circuit de Catalunya was first used in Formula 1 in 1991, and has become a key testing venue as well as hosting its annual Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton is eager to see Formula 1 stay around in Barcelona, citing it as a ‘classic circuit’. When asked about the possibility of Madrid replacing Barcelona, Hamilton poked fun at the last Spanish city to be introduced to the calendar.

“As long as it’s not like Valencia was, which wasn’t the most enjoyable track to drive,” he said, as quoted by The Race, referring to the circuit which hosted races between 2008 and 2012.

“I don’t think I would want to lose Barcelona. One, I love the city, but the track is… I do think it’s really important we keep some of the classic circuits, at least the ones that provide great racing.

“You know, Budapest is spectacular, Silverstone is spectacular. This track… where else? There’s a lot of pretty great, original circuits that we should keep – maybe some that don’t provide the greatest of racing, switch those out.

“I just think about the heritage of the sport, we’ve got to make sure we hold on to that, knowing the pillars of what this sport is.”

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Carlos Sainz will support Spanish Grand Prix no matter where it is

Carlos Sainz, who hails from Madrid, was asked for his thoughts on a race in his home city and said he enjoys the idea, but also likes Barcelona.

“Yeah, I’ve heard of the project and everything,” he said in Thursday’s press conference.

“I just can say that I will do my maximum and just to ensure that there’s still a Spanish Grand Prix, independently of where. I think Barcelona now is doing a great job and I’ve been enjoying coming to Barcelona many years.

“Obviously, I still need to go a bit more into the detail of what’s going on in Madrid and what they’re planning to do there but I will just support the Spanish Grand Prix independently of where it is and I will just help and offer my help for whatever they need, doesn’t matter if it’s track design, or whatever and support it.”

As for whether Spain could theoretically even hold two Grands Prix in a season, Sainz believes Spain has the right ingredients – such as infrastructure, weather, and positioning – to make it feasible if the intent was there.

“I don’t think it’s the intention of everyone, especially when you look at where they are going with the races and the new horizons they have in the States and everywhere so I don’t believe two Grands Prix in Spain is feasible right now,” he said.

“But I do feel like yeah, out of the Europe circuits or places that F1 is wanting to stay and is wanting to make sure we keep a base in Europe like we’ve seen in recent years, I do think Spain is the right place to keep a yearly Grand Prix and I’m sure Spain is going to do everything they can do to keep it, and I think it’s the right move.”