Details of the upcoming Madrid F1 circuit have been revealed and while we have no idea if it will equate to entertaining racing, what we’re getting is at the very least unique.
While it was initially believed that this would be a pure street circuit, that doesn’t seem to be the case. F1 themselves refer to it as a “hybrid course”, but what does that mean?
The track measures about 5.5km and only 1.5km of it is public roads, the rest is purpose-built. Having purpose-built sections at a street circuit isn’t crazy, both Singapore and Vegas do it, but what’s strange is the ratio.
Singapore and Vegas have very short permanent sections around the pits and paddock, but that’s it, the rest is closed public roads. Madrid is almost the complete opposite.
The existing roads around the Recinto Ferial site, where the IFEMA exhibition centre is found, is the basis for the start/finish area, but the rest of the track is based on roads that haven’t even been laid yet. This section will be constructed in the Valdebebas site.
Perhaps what can get fans most excited is who designed the track. F1 got Italian architecture firm, Dromo, to develop the track and they the ones responsible for the revisions of tracks like Zandvoort.
With the mention of Zandvoort, does that mean there’s going to be a banked corner? Yes, Turn 10 will be banked, but how steep it will be has yet to be decided.
But before we get there, let’s start at the beginning of the track.
From the start/finish line, the drivers are looking at a left-right chicane that is expected to be one of the four likely overtaking spots.
Next up is a curved acceleration zone before the breaking area at Turn 5 which should be the second overtaking zone.
Past that, drivers will then accelerate under a tunnel beneath the M11 motorway and then climb to the purpose-built section of the track. That’s when the drivers will reach Turn 10, named Valdebebas. The drivers will have a blind approach to Turn 10 which then turns over 180 degrees. Dromo CEO, Jarno Zafelli, thinks corner is going to be very popular with the drivers.
“We have been able to follow an approach to the track based on the comments of the drivers, who demand fast and safe layouts, and the presence of more banking, so appreciated after its reintroduction in Formula 1 in Zandvoort,” he said.
After Turn 10, drivers will be heading back to the exhibition centre via a rapid series of corners and another tunnel beneath the motorway. The final two corners are a pair of 90-degree bends as the drivers rejoin the public roads.
This track isn’t going to appear until the new chassis regulations appear in 2026 so it’s impossible to say if Madrid will live up to its promise.