Is Madrid GP On The Fast Track To Disaster?

Is Madrid GP On The Fast Track To Disaster?
Is Madrid GP On The Fast Track To Disaster?

Well-regarded Spanish economist Santiago Nino Becerra has cast doubt on the positive economic forecasts presented by the promoters of the newly-revealed Madrid Grand Prix.

The general consensus is that the Madrid GP, which has secured its spot on the Formula 1 calendar from 2026 to 2035, will contribute an annual fee of approximately 60 million euros to Formula 1.

This figure significantly exceeds the 26 million euros currently paid by Barcelona, the traditional host of the Spanish Grand Prix.

Despite this, race organizers have expressed confidence that the Madrid race will bring about sufficient economic benefits to warrant the increased fee. However, economist Santiago Nino Becerra has expressed skepticism regarding this outlook.

“The big question, as far as I know, that no one has asked and to which I have no answer, is why in Barcelona it (F1) generates 250 million euros and Madrid it would be 450,” he told Marca sports newspaper.

Nino Becerra said the difference between Barcelona’s real numbers and Madrid’s optimistic projections is “brutal”.

“The race will really generate twice the GDP in Madrid than in Catalonia?” he exclaimed.

His statements come at a critical time for Barcelona’s established F1 venue, as the Circuit de Catalunya upgrades its facilities and tries to negotiate with F1 for a new contract.

“Liberty Media has to decide if it’s a business to create another such successful race (like Madrid) and, if so, negotiate the price,” said the doctor of economics.

Another possibility, said Nino Becerra, is that the Madrid GP ultimately fails – like another similar attempt on the streets of Valencia some years ago.

“It was seen in the very first year that it did not work and then the second one was a disaster. Now we will have to see what happens in the first year in Madrid,” he said.

The economist is not the only early critic of Madrid’s F1 plans. Former driver turned broadcaster David Coulthard admitted to laughing at the announcement about the future event’s sustainability credentials.

“My takeaway was that 90 percent of the fans can go there by public transport,” he told Total-Motorsport.com. “That’s all very nice for the politicians and the greens, but I don’t think it’s the first thing race fans think about when they go to a grand prix.

“I had to giggle when I saw that one of the justifications for the Madrid bid.”

Spanish racing driver Dani Juncadella, meanwhile, was far from impressed with the early e-sports version of the new Madrid layout.

“I won’t say what I think about the circuit because they’ll take me to prison,” he joked.

Indeed, Spanish automobile federation vice president Joaquin Verdegay admits he has several reservations about the safety of the proposed semi-street layout.

He told Soy Motor that fans have been allocated spectator areas that are “dangerously close” to the F1 action, and predicts that the venue will need “five or six months” to get final track approval from the FIA.

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