The Madrid Grand Prix will join the Formula 1 calendar in 2026 as one of eight street circuits, amid concerns from drivers like Max Verstappen about the increase of such tracks and speculation from Damon Hill that this trend may be influenced by new FIA regulations and a shift towards Formula E-style racing.
‣ The Madrid Grand Prix will be added to the Formula 1 calendar in 2026, contributing to an increase in street circuits, which will then represent a third of the full calendar.
‣ Max Verstappen has expressed dissatisfaction with the growing number of street circuits, preferring traditional race tracks like Spa-Francorchamps, highlighting a divide in preferences among drivers.
‣ Damon Hill emphasizes the importance of maintaining a balance between street circuits and traditional race tracks, acknowledging the historical significance of street racing in Formula 1 while also recognizing the need to preserve iconic circuits like Spa.
‣ The shift towards more street circuits may be influenced by the new engine regulations set for 2026, which will change the performance dynamics of F1 cars, potentially making tighter, twistier circuits more suitable for the expected vehicle performance.
Madrid’s gearing up for something big. Yep, you guessed it – the Grand Prix is hitting the streets in 2026. Damon Hill, a name that echoes in the corridors of Formula 1 history, thinks this new trend might be thanks to the FIA’s fresh rules coming up.
So, what’s the big deal? Madrid, with its race around the IFEMA grounds, is pushing the number of street circuits on the F1 calendar to a whopping eight. That’s a third of all races, folks. But here’s the kicker – not everyone’s thrilled. Max Verstappen, our Red Bull Racing maestro, isn’t exactly throwing a party over this. He’s all for the classic tracks, like the legendary Spa-Francorchamps.
### Hill saw ‘very annoyed Max Verstappen’
Remember Vegas? That’s where we saw Verstappen, less than amused, pouring his heart out about circuit types. Hill caught that and shared with Sky Sports, “A circuit near a city center? It’s a thumbs up for the grand prix experience.” But, Hill’s not all in without reservations. He’s all about balance. “We can’t forget the Spas of the world,” he says. Spa, with its roots as a street circuit, reminds us of F1’s humble beginnings on actual roads.
### Hill: ‘Shift towards Formula E’
Hill’s got a theory. With new engine rules on the horizon, there’s chatter about the challenges of squeezing consistent performance from the cars. Red Bull’s top dogs, Christian Horner and Pierre Waché, have voiced their concerns. The shift to a 50/50 power split between combustion engines and batteries might mean drivers easing off on straights to juice up the battery. Hill sees this nudging F1 towards the Formula E vibe – city races on tight circuits.
And Madrid? Hill wonders if it’s a sign of the times, a nod to the future of F1 cars possibly losing some oomph. “Let’s hope it’s not all about concessions for performance dips,” says the ’96 champ.
So, there you have it. The future of F1 is zipping towards us, with more street races and big changes under the hood. It’s a mix of excitement and a bit of nostalgia for the old tracks. But hey, that’s progress, right?