Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya: The Ultimate Track Guide

Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya: The Ultimate Track Guide

The Spanish Grand Prix moved homes plenty of times before it settled at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in 1991. The track is well known by drivers and mechanics thanks to extensive Winter Testing, and is well attended thanks to a certain Spanish driver.

TRACK LENGTH 2.892 miles
MOST POLES Michael Schumacher (7)
MOST WINS Michael Schumacher (6)



Spain has one of the longest histories with motorsport, with the first Spanish Grand Prix taking place in 1913 on a road circuit near Madrid. Another race was held ten years later, after the First World War, at the Autódromo de Sitges-Terramar, before Grand Prix racing found a more permanent home at the Circuito Lasarte. The racing was popular, but was halted when the Spanish Civil War broke out in 1936. Racing returned in the 1950s, as Spain hosted a Formula One race for the first time at the Pedralbes circuit. Between 1968 and 1975, the sport visited the Circuito del Jarama and the Montjuïc circuit on a yearly rotation, before the latter hosted the Spanish Grand Prix consistently between 1976 and 1981 following a crash which killed four spectators at the Montjuïc circuit. In 1986, the new Jerez circuit was built to host the Spanish Grand Prix, though this only lasted for five seasons before the event moved to another new venue – the Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya.

Situated in Montmelo, north of Barcelona, the first race was held here in 1991. The Catalan Parliament first agreed that a racing circuit would be built in the area in October 1986 and building began in February 1989. The circuit opened on 10th September 1991 and the first race, a round of the Spanish Touring Car Championship, took place five days later. Later in the month, the first Formula One race at the track took place. It was the 35th Grand Prix to be held in Spain.

Spain doesn’t have too much history in Formula One in terms of star drivers, but the circuit has enjoyed an upsurge in popularity since the turn of the millennium thanks to Fernando Alonso, who has brought a whole new Spanish audience to the sport.

Overtaking was frequent at this track thanks to the fast final corner, which allowed the cars to slipstream down the main straight. Now, however, the track has a reputation for being difficult to overtake. The final corner on the track used to be the fastest part but, due to safety concerns, the corner was taken out and replaced with a chicane section, which slows the cars down before they turn the final part of the original corner.

From 2013 onwards, the Spanish Grand Prix was contracted to alternate between this circuit and the street track in Valencia, though this did not happen as Valencia pulled out of the deal. The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya holds a contract to host the Spanish Grand Prix until 2019.


At Turn Seven you can see an old farmhouse, which existed before the circuit was built. It now houses the circuit’s offices.


  • Between 2007 and 2016, there were no repeat winners of the Spanish Grand Prix.
  • The circuit was built in 1991, and in 1992, the track acted as the start/finish line for the road team time trial cycling event in the Olympics which were held in Barcelona.
  • In 1992, the race here was advertised as the ‘Grand Prix of the Olympic Games’.
  • Wind direction can have a significant impact on the Catalunya track, and it is known to change drastically throughout the day.
  • The circuit is probably the most well-known to the teams and drivers as they test extensively here in Winter Testing.
  • The track has seen a number of event sponsors over the years, from Marlboro and Pirelli to the Spanish based giants Telefónica and Santander.
  • The track was known as the Circuit de Catalunya until 2013, when a sponsorship deal with the Barcelona City Council saw ‘Barcelona’ added to its title.
  • The circuit can hold over 140,000 spectators, and was a sell-out event in Fernando Alonso’s most competitive seasons.


Coming to Catalunya usually marks the start of Formula One’s European season. It’s where the teams will bring the first major upgrades of the year to their cars, and where the story of each year’s championship usually begins to unravel.


Poles Driver
7 Michael Schumacher
4 Lewis Hamilton
2 Mika Häkkinen
2 Kimi Räikkönen
2 Mark Webber
2 Nico Rosberg
1 Gerhard Berger
1 Nigel Mansell
1 Alain Prost
1 Damon Hill
1 Jacques Villeneuve
1 Fernando Alonso
1 Felipe Massa
1 Jenson Button
1 Pastor Maldonado


Year Winner Team
1991 Nigel Mansell Williams-Renault
1992 Nigel Mansell Williams-Renault
1993 Alain Prost Williams-Renault
1994 Damon Hill Williams-Renault
1995 Michael Schumacher Benetton-Renault
1996 Michael Schumacher Ferrari
1997 Jacques Villeneuve Williams-Renault
1998 Mika Häkkinen McLaren-Mercedes
1999 Mika Häkkinen McLaren-Mercedes
2000 Mika Häkkinen McLaren-Mercedes
2001 Michael Schumacher Ferrari
2002 Michael Schumacher Ferrari
2003 Michael Schumacher Ferrari
2004 Michael Schumacher Ferrari
2005 Kimi Räikkönen McLaren-Mercedes
2006 Fernando Alonso Renault
2007 Felipe Massa Ferrari
2008 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari
2009 Jenson Button Brawn-Mercedes
2010 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault
2011 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault
2012 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault
2013 Fernando Alonso Ferrari
2014 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
2015 Nico Rosberg Mercedes
2016 Max Verstappen Red Bull-TAG Heuer
2017 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes