Speculation last week suggested that a new race around the Spanish capital from 2026 is near a sign-off, with talks at an advanced stage with F1’s commercial rights holder.
The plans are for a race to take place around the IFEMA convention centre in the northeast of the city, close to its Madrid-Barajas international airport.
The 5km parkland circuit would use the IFEMA pavilion complex and fairgrounds, which are often used for exhibitions and conferences, as its start-finish straight and the site of the paddock complex.
But despite details of the race being leaked to the media, the FIA has moved to play down any suggestion that things are close to being signed off.
This is especially true because the governing body has not yet been tasked with working on several key elements that need to be approved before any race project is sanctioned.
Speaking to selected media including Motorsport.com, the FIA president of the Senate, Carmelo Sanz de Barros, who is also president of the Spanish automobile federation (Real Automóvil Club de España) said he would love to see F1 return to Madrid, but was clear that there were a lot of things to be sorted.
“There is a clear process to have a grand prix in a place, and I don’t think that the process is being followed based on what you read,” he said.
“The Spanish automobile federation is where the process starts, because whenever there is a new competition that wants to happen in a country, you have to go to them.
“So, have the Spanish Federation received as of today this project to be analysed, studied and focused? No, they have not seen it. This special step has not happened yet.
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Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing
“Then, when the Spanish federation consider that this project is a valid project and that they are interested, they channel it to where? To the FIA, because they have to homologate it. If they are talking about a semi-urban circuit, the first thing you have to do is to homologate it and certify, things like that.
“So, if the Spanish federation have not received anything, then therefore they have not sent anything to the FIA, so the FIA have not received anything. So, nobody [inside the FIA] has been working so far on this project that has been in the press in the last few days.”
It is only when the above steps with the FIA and its national sporting authority are complete then the door can be opened for the race to find its way onto the calendar.
De Barros also said he and the FIA have no qualms about proceeding to evaluate the plans when they receive them, but he is worried that there is a bit of political manoeuvring going on in terms of the leaks to the press.
“I’ve been reading also a lot about Madrid trying to steal from Barcelona, and trying to kill Montmelo or things like that…and definitely I think that the way it is being positioned is not correct,” he said.
“This has been probably influenced by the political situation we are living in, of Madrid versus Barcelona.
“Also, and I don’t know if this was announced, but we had some experience in the past, when we were trying to bring the 2030 Olympic Games to Madrid and due to leakage and due to not following processes, this has not happened.
“I hope that this is not the case [with the Madrid race] because I would love to have a race in Madrid. But is it the only project that I’m aware of to have F1 in Madrid? No, I know of at least another two.”
Source: Boxing News 24