This is how Madrid won the Spanish GP: Catalonia will have to invest to maintain F1

Madrid I was looking forward to announcing that I was going to return to Formula 1 World Championship. Since hours before the presentation that made the return of the ‘Great Circus’ to the capital official, several buses of the Municipal Transport Company displayed the ‘Welcome Back’ message. Beyond the ‘claim’ there were two pieces of extremely relevant information. On the one hand, the date: 2026, 45 years after F1 said goodbye to Jarama. On the other hand, the name: Spanish GP, name – still – in the possession of Montmeló, whose contract with Formula One Management expires, precisely, in two years.

“Can there be two races in Spain? Why not?”

Stefano Domenicali, CEO of Formula 1, chose after the event to draw the chicane when he was asked about the coexistence of Madrid and Barcelona on the World Cup calendar.. “Can there be two races in Spain? Why not?” the Italian president responded once he finished an event where he also remembered the Montmeló route.

This is the circuit of the new Spanish F1 GP that will be held in Madrid: 5.47 kilometers, four overtaking zones…

Sources familiar with the negotiation assure this newspaper that the biggest obstacle to the continuity of the Catalan test is financing. Both reinforcement and payment of the fee (22 million euros annually). The intention of the Spanish GP to be held in Madrid is for it to be 100% private capital.

They want to avoid situations like the ill-fated European GP that was held in Valencia. The Government of this community finished paying in June the last 7.5 million for the F1 urban circuit that the former president of the Generalitat Francisco Camps promised at zero cost.

According to the latest strategic plan of the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya from January 2022, the activities of the route generate 326 million and 2,670 jobs, to which the Generalitat clings, also motivated by the eternal dichotomy with Madrid. But the income statement is not being positive. The organizing company requires a minimum income that the Generalitat must cover as a difference if it does not reach the projected benefit. For example, in 2021 19 million had to leave public coffers.

Ayuso: “I would like the grand prix to continue in Barcelona”

In the last 15 years as a whole, the ‘circuit’ has needed the support of 100 million from the institutions. “In Catalonia we work for Catalonia. Beyond the fact that the Formula 1 organization can reach agreements with other cities, we continue working to extend beyond 2026 the championship that has been taking place in Catalonia for more than 30 years. We are moving forward,” said Pere Aragonés, president of the Generalitat.

Faced with this defensive position, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, president of the Community of Madrid, from the advantageous position with which the new Spanish GP now starts, said the following: “I would like the grand prix to continue in Barcelona. “I don’t want any project to leave any Spanish region.” Although it has been precisely the non-strictly political part of the project that has positioned the Madrid GP ahead.

The return of F1 to Madrid starting in 2026 is now a reality: this is the “spectacle race” of the new Spanish GP

José Vicente de los Mozos, president of the Executive Committee of Ifema, has led the negotiations with the entity headed by Stefano Domenicali. Both maintain an excellent relationship forged from the positions they have both held in companies in the automotive sector. De los Mozos is currently the CEO of Indra, but, as he himself recalled in the presentation, his career, until a year ago, has been linked to the motor.

De los Mozos, the key figure of the Spanish GP in Madrid

This independent profile is also linked to Ifema, the institution that will be the epicenter of the Spanish GP. The equation is perfect. The candidacy headed by De los Mozos has also been able to perfectly understand what Formula 1 is looking for, a symbiosis between tradition and spectacle. The Jarama circuit hosted a World Championship event until 1981. All in all, Madrid opted for a new project that would serve as an engine for tourism and the economy.

José Vicente de los Mozos, president of the executive committee of Ifema, during the presentation of the Madrid GP. IFEMA

The name ‘Spanish Grand Prix’ is also in favor of the event that will run through Ifema, completely integrated into the route conceived by Jarno Zafelli, CEO of Dromo and in charge of remodeling the Zandvoort circuit (Netherlands). Several tests held on national territory have coexisted on the calendar. The European GP was held in Jerez and Valencia, a name that, however, was lost in 2016.

The figures with which the Madrid GP wants to be “the best in F1”: 500 million returns, 10,000 jobs, 54,000 tourists…

But all the details are accumulated on the roof of the Generalitat and Montmeló, a circuit full of history, a factor that, however, has taken a backseat in recent times. Formula 1 has become a global spectacle that has conquered markets like the US, which the Madrid promoters have set their sights on. While the account of the Spanish capital runs in favor, that of Barcelona runs against it.

2024-01-23 20:10:48
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