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F1 host Barcelona downplays Madrid GP 'rumours'

F1 host Barcelona downplays Madrid GP 'rumours'
© Reuters
Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya says it will not give up on hosting a Formula 1 race.

Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya says it will not give up on hosting a Formula 1 race.

It is believed Formula 1 is poised to announce a new addition to the world championship calendar for 2026 - a city race near the Real Madrid training ground in the Spanish capital, with 'Madrid GP' trademarks already filed.

The privately-funded event in Madrid would reportedly include a unique indoor section through the Ifema event pavilions and a Zandvoort-style banked corner.

However, Spanish media reports insist that Spain's FIA-linked sanctioning body RFEDA is yet to receive a formal request for an event data or approve a circuit layout.

But state TV broadcaster RTVE insists that a ten-year contract for a Madrid GP is on the cards, putting in jeopardy the future of the existing Spanish GP in Barcelona - whose own F1 deal is only set to run until 2026.

"We are not going to respond to rumours," a source at the Circuit de Catalunya told Marca sports newspaper.

"We can only say that right now we are working on having the best Spanish GP possible in 2024, that we have a contract until 2026 inclusive, and that we are working with F1 to extend this agreement for more years."

The government of Catalonia, meanwhile, also branded talk about Madrid replacing Barcelona on the F1 calendar as "rumours".

"In no case have the organisers informed us or made any changes official," said Generalitat de Catalunya spokeswoman Patricia Plaja, according to El Mundo Deportivo newspaper.

But Victor Francos, president of the Consejo Superior de Deportes sports council, admitted that Madrid really does endanger the future of the race in Barcelona.

"It is known that there is a project in Madrid, which Ifema has presented, and that it is a semi-urban circuit which is competing with Barcelona," he said.

"For the first time, there is an alternative proposal."

Madrid mayor Jose Luis Martinez Almeida also confirmed the news.

"We are the best city to host F1," he said. "We have worked through Ifema, but the official confirmation comes from F1."

When asked if the first Madrid GP would be in 2026, when Barcelona already has a F1 contract, he answered: "We have worked to meet all the requirements, but the final decision is for F1."

Sources at Ifema, meanwhile - the Madrid events organisation and venue - told Europa Press that negotiations with Liberty Media are in the "final phase", even though the Madrid GP "does not yet have definitive confirmation".

"Progress is being made and the final decision is a matter for Formula 1," the source added.

El Mundo newspaper believes "powerful multinationals" also involved in the grands prix in Mexico and Miami are involved in the Madrid GP project.

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