Comments made by Lewis Hamilton last year in regards to street circuits are more relevant than ever after F1 added another to the calendar.
F1’s worst kept secret was confirmed on Tuesday when the Madrid GP was announced as an official venue from 2026 onwards but the future of the Barcelona circuit has yet to be decided.
While the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is not exactly a fan favourite, it is at least a dedicated track while Madrid is being branded a ‘hybrid’ circuit.
Lewis Hamilton’s plea seemingly falls on deaf ears
The Madrid route, which will be 5.474 kilometres long, is being compared to Melbourne’s Albert Park Circuit with some street elements and some traditional track portions but it is again a step away from the purpose-built races which F1 was built on.
It is also no doubt bad news for Hamilton who said last June that he wanted more “original circuits” to stay on the calendar.
“As long as it’s not like Valencia was, which wasn’t the most enjoyable track to drive,” Hamilton told media about a potential new home for the Spanish GP.
“I don’t think I would want to lose Barcelona. One, I love the city. I do think it’s really important we keep some of the classic circuits, at least the ones that provide great racing.
“Budapest is spectacular. Silverstone is spectacular. This [Barcelona] track as well. There are a lot of really great original circuits that we should keep. Maybe some that don’t provide the greatest racing, we should maybe switch those out.
“I just think about the heritage of the sport and we’ve got to make sure we hold onto those which I think are the pillars of what this sport is in my opinion.”
Announcing the race, F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali expressed the importance of sustainability in deciding to add Madrid.
“Madrid is an incredible city with amazing sporting and cultural heritage, and today’s announcement begins an exciting new chapter for F1 in Spain,” he said.
“I would like to thank the team at IFEMA MADRID, the Regional Government of Madrid and the city’s Mayor for putting together a fantastic proposal. It truly epitomises Formula 1’s vision to create a multi-day spectacle of sport and entertainment that delivers maximum value for fans and embraces innovation and sustainability.”
FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem also spoke in similar terms, suggesting the organisers had put a “sharp focus” on the environment.
“Modern Formula 1 cars racing on a new circuit in the Spanish capital city of Madrid is an enticing prospect,” he said.
“As we build towards the introduction of the FIA 2026 Formula One regulations, which have been framed with Net Zero carbon by 2030 in mind, it is pleasing to see that the local organisers have placed a sharp focus on environmental sustainability in their plans for the event.
“As is customary, the proposed circuit will be subject to FIA homologation and safety checks and calendar approval by the World Motor Sport Council.”