Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin, Circuit de Catalunya, 2023

Alonso and Leclerc would welcome Spanish GP move to Madrid street track

2023 Spanish Grand Prix

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Charles Leclerc and Fernando Alonso say they are open to another street circuit joining the Formula 1 calendar in Madrid.

The Spanish Grand Prix, which takes place this weekend, is due to be held at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona until 2026. However F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali has reportedly met with officials in Madrid to explore whether a street circuit in the Spanish capital would be a viable option to replace Barcelona.

The Circuit de Catalunya is only the second permanent track F1 has visited over the opening seven race weekends of the 2023 season so far after Bahrain’s opening round, following the cancellation of Imola’s round due to flooding. However Ferrari driver Leclerc says he would welcome another street circuit joining the championship in place of Barcelona.

“It’s a track that we all know so well as drivers, so it would be strange to not come here,” Leclerc said. “But me personally, I love street tracks. I think just the feeling that you get from it is very, very special. So Madrid would be really nice too.”

Alonso, who has won his home race twice in Barcelona and once on the short-lived Valencia street circuit, likes the idea of racing in Madrid in the future – if he is still in Formula 1 by then.

“I really don’t know what are the plans,” he said. “It’s going to be a Formula 1 decision if Madrid is in contention or not.

“I will be happy to race in Barcelona, I will be happy to race in Madrid – if I’m here in 2026. If I’m not here, I will watch on TV and it doesn’t change much.”

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Asked if there were too many street circuits in Formula 1, Alonso that that it is “good to have a few, but not too many.”

“I think when you come to a traditional circuit, it’s also nice to have a consistent track from Friday to Sunday,” he continued. “Not much track evolution and this kind of thing. So let’s see.

“At the end of the day, it’s up to the region if they are happy to host the race or not. Barcelona has been up and down – sometimes they are positive about hosting the race, sometimes they don’t want the race. So if they don’t want the race, it is very easy then, because some other region will love to have it.”

Valtteri Bottas said a change of venues for the Spanish Grand Prix would only be worthwhile “if they come up with something better in Madrid than the actual.”

“But it’s not like we have a say in things,” he added. “So we go where F1 goes and we race there.”

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2023 Spanish Grand Prix

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Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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7 comments on “Alonso and Leclerc would welcome Spanish GP move to Madrid street track”

  1. Does Madrid offer an actual street circuit or just one of those wrongly called close-barrier artificial circuits?
    We should honestly start making that fundamental distinction.
    Street curcuit – racing on actual streets, e.g. Monaco, Baku
    Close-barrier circuit – a regular track with small to none run-off spaces, e.g. Jeddah, Sochi etc.

    1. I agree that a distinction is important to avoid inadvertently misleading people & to categorize more broadly the current circuits:
      Street circuits per se, entirely/mostly formed out of pre-existing roads for regular traffic use: Albert Park, Baku, Monaco, Marina Bay, & LV

      Other temporary circuits not formed out of roads used by regular traffic:
      Jeddah (more specifically, a semi-permanent temporary circuit), Miami (although two track crossings occur before T11 & chicane, while the back straight is a route into parking spaces)

      Permanent circuits with some temporary features or regular car use for certain purposes & in this case, also walking, running, cycling, i.e., effectively an opposite to Jeddah:
      Circuit Gilles Villeneuve

      Yes, from former circuits, Sochi Autodrom is also a fitting choice for the same category as Jeddah.
      Yet people still somehow considered that a street circuit despite never getting any regular traffic use, even before inaugural event like the curvy back stretch on Jeddah Corniche that already existed before.

      1. I’d put Albert Park in a ‘Park Circuit’ category, similar to Montreal. Although they, like some others, seem to be in categories of their own.

        1. @moshambles The key difference is that the Albert Park circuit roads get regular traffic use, unlike Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

  2. Both Spanish drivers would prefer a race in Madrid, not for the track, but because the Barcelona circuit is in Catalunya, a region that wants to be independent from Spain and hates anyone or anything coming from Madrid. In Catalunya Alonso and Sainz are considered to be coming from the enemy camp.

    1. Sainz is madrileno so it’s normal by Spanish that he is disliked in Catalunya. Though Alonso is from Asturias, I think they may dislike him in Catalunya because of his support to Real Madrid.

      1. Anyone in Spain outside of Catalunya is considered the enemy by the Catalans…

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