The Spanish Grand Prix takes place in May at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Montmeló which can accommodate as many as 140,000 spectators. The circuit which lies 20km north-east of Barcelona has been home to the race since 1991 and the track is also an important winter testing venue for the Formula One teams.
Before establishing a permanent home in Catalonia the Spanish Grand Prix had previously been held at numerous other tracks around the country including nearby Montjuic, Jarama near Madrid and the track at Jerez de la Frontera in southern Spain which remains an important winter testing circuit.
Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya
History: The Catalan parliament voted in October 1986 in favour of building an international standard racing circuit in the Barcelona area. Land was acquired 20km north of the city at Montmeló and in February 1989 work began on building the Circuit of Catalunya. The first Spanish Grand Prix to be staged there was in September 1991 and the event proved a fantastic success when Nigel Mansell just beat Ayrton Senna on the final straight.
Winter Testing: The circuit soon became Formula One’s most important winter testing ground and home to the Spanish Grand Prix. It is popular with drivers who are familiar with its fast, long straights and demanding corners which make overtaking very difficult. Teams have a hard time setting up their cars here due to shifting wind direction which upsets the car’s aerodynamics.
Circuit de Catalunya Map
Getting to the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya
From Barcelona: The Circuit de Catalunya is 20km north of Barcelona. The best way of getting there by public transport from Barcelona is to take a local train (cercanias) from any of the following three stations:
- Passeig de Gràcia
- El Clot.
The train will be going to Macanet-Massanes but you must get off at Montmeló. Montmeló is on the green number 2 line, 5 stops after El Clot.
There are trains every 30 minutes and the journey takes about 40 minutes. A transfer will be available from the Montmeló train station to the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya as the walk is about 30 minutes.
From Girona: If you’re coming from Girona you should take take a RENFE train on line 2 heading for Barcelona and get off at Montmeló. The journey takes about one hour.
Spanish F1 Grand Prix Tickets
You can order Spanish Grand Prix tickets for the Sunday of the race but the price of a three day pass is more or less the same price. So if you’re there for the weekend you should buy the weekend pass which gives you access to the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya for all the qualifiers as well as access to the pits on the Thursday before the race.
Where to Sit at the F1 Grand Prix
Grandstands: The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya has 14 grandstands of which only three are covered. The most expensive seats are in stand D which is in front of the pits offering great views of wheel changes and fast refuelling as well as the starting grid, the finish and the podium ceremony. It also offers an excellent view of the last turn coming into the main straight which is one of the fastest and most difficult on the circuit. Grandstands E and F are the next priciest as they are at the end of the main straight where cars go into the Elf turn. This is one of the few parts of the track where drivers might be able to overtake their rivals.
Pelouse: The cheapest tickets are in a section called the ‘Pelouse’ which is an open area with grass banks where you can move around freely before and during the race. Large screens placed strategically around the circuit allow you to follow the race. There is no designated seating in this area.
Did You Know?
The Spanish city of Valencia hosted the Formula One European Grand Prix from 2008 until 2012. The race resembled the Monaco Grand Prix as the track ran through the streets surrounding the port area which was redeveloped for the 2007 America’s Cup sailing event. Plans to alternate the Spanish Grand Prix between Barcelona and the Valencia Street Circuit were shelved during the Spanish financial crisis. Today the abandoned circuit is nothing more than a sad reminder of the profligacy of the local Valencian government which cost taxpayers around €200 million and contributed significantly to the city’s own financial crisis from which it is yet to recover.
Previous Winners of the Spanish Grand Prix
Although British driver Nigel Mansell won the first two races at the circuit it’s Michael Schumacher who holds the record for most wins with six victories here. Finnish drivers Mika Häkkinen and Kimi Räikkönen have won the race five times between them whilst Lewis Hamilton has now won four titles.
2019 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
2018 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
2017 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
2016 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing-TAG Heuer
2015 Nico Rosberg Mercedes
2014 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
2013 Fernando Alonso Ferrari
2012 Pastor Maldonado Williams
2011 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault
2010 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault
2009 Jenson Button Brawn-Mercedes
2008 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari
2007 Felipe Massa Ferrari
2006 Fernando Alonso Renault
2005 Kimi Räikkönen McLaren-Mercedes
2004 Michael Schumacher Ferrari