The layout of the circuit chosen to host the return of the Madrid GP in the Formula 1 calendar has raised some safety concerns.
Following the official announcement in recent days, Madrid is gearing up for its return to Formula 1 in 2026, after the last edition held in 1981 at the permanent Jarama circuit. However, the layout designed and approved by Jarno Zaffelli has sparked some safety concerns, with Joaquín Verdegay, vice president of the Real Automobile Club de Catalunya (RACC), even going so far as to describe the semi-city track as “dangerous.”
As widely known, the circuit will wind around the IFEMA pavilions, one of the main exhibition and congress complexes in the Spanish capital, and around the Valdebebas area, home to the Real Madrid training center. At that point, an elevated corner will be built, which according to some rumors should even exceed the 35-degree inclination of Turn 3 at Zandvoort.
For Verdegay, the banking could represent a serious risk factor in the event of an accident: “All the stands to the left at the exit of the banking seem dangerously close. If something happens, the centrifugal force would throw the debris of the car to the left, and look at what we have there.”
The vice president has proposed a solution to prioritize safety, even at the expense of the visual spectacle: “Two stands could be positioned very close, on the left. There would be an access problem, walkways could be put in place. It’s a place where the view would be worse, but the audience must be protected.”
In addition to the elevated corner, the cars will pass under the M-11 highway bridge twice, with Verdegay expressing concern about the high speed at which they will enter those points: “Regarding the first tunnel, what worries me the most is that it is a rather long tunnel, and you enter at high speed.”
“I think it would be necessary to try to reduce the speed of entry as much as possible so that the drivers don’t go full throttle into the tunnel. I have the feeling that it won’t happen, and honestly, it worries me.”
Finally, the last point emphasized concerns the need for the area where the pits will be located to be entirely removable: “The entire structure on the right, that is, the pits, are things that probably should be built in a removable way because the entire element on the right is the main entrance to IFEMA. I hope the pit buildings will be moderately transportable; that’s my first criterion.”