verstappen city circuits suck f1 red bull

With Madrid on the radar, when is it enough of F1 street tracks?

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Recent credible reports suggest that the Spanish Grand Prix could be moving from Barcelona to Madrid, once the current contract runs out in 2026 and if this is the case, we will see yet another street circuit makes its way into the Formula 1 calendar. 

Since 1991, the Spanish Grand Prix has been hosted at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, and has been a staple on the Formula 1 tracklist, however, this could soon change. The Mayor of Madrid, Jose Luiz Martinez-Almeida has since spoken about the ongoing ‘talks’ between the city of Madrid and the FIA, as he hopes to attract the business to the Spanish capital.

Martinez-Almeida said that negotiations between the city and the FIA “are going reasonably well” the Spaniard added: “F1 is one of the great events out there, and cities are measured by their ability to attract great events.”

According to the Mayor, these negotiations have been going on for a few months now, and a street circuit seems to be the most plausible option if this was to ever happen. Which means yet another street circuit. Street circuits used to be held in such high regard, with Monaco the crown jewel and others copying to different levels throughout the years.

Tricky turns, difficult overtakes and a sheer sense of adrenaline for the drivers and fans alike, that is what made these circuits so unique. Monaco, Jeddah and Baku, all tracks that have a certain aura and buzz around them, which other tracks arguably fail to replicate, in this way at least.

Verstappen: I don’t want to see myself in 2028 or whenever driving only on street circuits


There is another big reason why these street tracks were so anticipated: there was relatively few of them. However pop-up F1 tracks such as the characterless Miami’s Hard Rock ‘thing’ appear as more street-based circuits appear on the calendar.

Will this be huge for Spain and Madrid respectively? Of course it will, an F1 event in the city is amazing no matter what way you look at it. But when are enough street circuits enough? Should they be injected into the calendar in place of traditional iconic venues – which Circuit de Barcelona certainly is – simply because money talks?

Last year, Verstappen shared his thoughts on street circuits versus traditional venues when the future of the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps was in focus: “It’s sad, it’s my favourite track first of all. I think it’s just a great track to drive.I understand to get there compared to other tracks is probably a little bit more difficult with the traffic, but it’s a very iconic track.

“I don’t want to see myself in 2028 or whenever, driving only on street circuits close to the city for fan engagement because you need these kinds of iconic tracks on the calendar. I understand everyone wants to make money but there is also a limit to that because it’s important to keep these really cool circuits on the calendar, instead of just driving on street circuits because I don’t think F1 cars are designed for them anyway,” ventured Verstappen.

With that, the opinion of a 25-year-old double F1 World Champion, and preeminent race driver of the ‘new’ generation, it begs the question: When will it be enough street tracks on the F1 calendar?