The Spanish F1 has a great history and, combined with a few days in the beautiful city of Barcelona, makes for a fantastic trip and sporting experience
Where It Takes Place and Getting There
Even though many people refer to it as the Barcelona Grand Prix, the Spanish F1 takes place a few kilometres outside of Barcelona, but most people tend to stay in Barcelona and travel to the race track on the day.
The Grand Prix takes place at the Circuit de Catalunya and it normally takes place in May of each year.
Getting Tickets & Getting to the Track
The easiest way to get tickets is to buy them directly from the circuit and their official website is here. You can also try the ticket hotline on telephone number: +34 93 571 97 71.
Getting to the circuit
Transport from my experience is well organised. You can catch a train and then transfer from the Montmeló train station and then walk directly to the Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona. The walk takes about 25 minutes.
The train from the centre of Barcelona to take is the RENFE R2.
You can normally catch this train at either ‘Sants Estacio’, or ‘Passeig de Gràcia’ train station. Make sure though to get the train going to Maçanet Massanes, so that you are heading in the right direction (and avoid what a couple of my friends did).
Where to Stay
I recommend to stay in Barcelona as the majority of people do. There are few options otherwise that are close to the circuit that are worth considering.
Staying in Barcelona and enjoying the city for a day or two before and after the grand prix can make for a great experience.
Do remember also, if staying in Barcelona, to book early if you can, as hotel rooms book out quickly for the F1 weekend dates.
My Experience of a Day at the Spanish F1
We stayed in Barcelona in the Barcelona Novotel City Centre as a group of four friends.
Now I have to admit that my wife took a little bit of gentle persuasion, as attending sports events is something she was new to at the time (she always prefers opera, ballet, and classical concerts).
The Spanish F1 was one of many international sporting events I took her to and so the offer of a long weekend in Barcelona was enough to tempt her!
Catching the train from the centre of Barcelona was relatively easy and, given the number of other people also heading to the circuit, you can pretty much just follow crowds when you exit the train.
Just follow everyone else and you will easily find the circuit.
The walk was a little longer than we expected and, on a hot May spring day, you will want to ensure you take:
- a few bottles of water (for the walk to the circuit)
- I recommend a baseball cap or hat
- Plenty of sun-tan lotion
We chose the general admissions area and you do have a decent area to walk around and choose a position to watch the motor racing from.
It can get pretty busy in the good spots though, so the earlier you arrive the better.
Drinks, food, toilets, and souvenir stands are situated around the place and generally easy to find.
The circuit is neither the easiest nor the hardest to get to when compared against the rest of the formula one motor racing circuits. It’s certainly a lot easier than trying to reach Silverstone for the British Grand Prix.
Overall, we had a great day and the wife is now ready for the Singapore Grand Prix when we make it there to Singapore for one of the night races.
10 Things You Didn’t Know about the Barcelona Grand Prix
1. The last wet Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona was in the year 1996. Subsequent to that time, the races haven’t been conducted during rains.
2. The first time the Spanish Grand Prix was held at the Circuit de Catalunya was the year 1991. The racing track is actually located in Montmeló, not in Barcelona, in spite of being called the Barcelona track. The circuit serves as an important testing ground, and hence a lot of drivers are very familiar with the track.
3. Olivier Panis, an active driver in the sport of circuit racing, scored his last podium position in Spain, before retiring. The last team to score its last podium position in Spain was Tyrrell (Mark Blundell in 1994).
4. In 1986, Ayrton Senna finished the Barcelona GP a tiny fraction of time, exactly 0.014 seconds ahead of Nigel Mansell, making it the smallest winning margin in F1 history. This nail-biting race took place on Circuito Permanente de Jerez.
5. In the time period between 1968 and 1973, Ford, the engine manufacturer, scored 6 Barcelona Grand Prix wins in a row.
6. Two famous mishaps that took place after pit stops were firstly the one with Bertrand Gachot in 1995, where there were tongues of flame coming out of his car. The second one, also in 1995, happened with Johnny Herbert, when Benetton forgot to remove the rear jack from his car.
7. Ferrari introduced their periscope exhaust system in 1998, in the Barcelona Grand Prix.
8. Nigel Mansell retired from F1 racing after the 1995 Spanish Grand Prix. The last Grand Prix race that he has won was the Australian Grand Prix race. He had briefly retired from racing, making a comeback of sorts in 1994.
9. In all, since its inception, the Spanish Grand Prix has been hosted on 5 different racing circuits – Barcelona, Jerez, Jarama, Montjuich and Pedralbes. As a matter of fact, the Barcelona Grand Prix didn’t start as a Grand Prix at all, but used touring car rules for their races.
10. In the 1994 Barcelona Grand Prix Michael Schumacher pulled off quite a feat in finishing the race in second place, in spite of driving for over half of the race in fifth gear. Subsequently, two years later, Schumacher scored the first win as a member of the Ferrari team. The performance was exceptional since it took place during a rainstorm.