The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, located around half an hour from the city centre, has hosted the Formula 1 and the Spanish Grand Prix every year since it was built in 1991. The race used to take place right in the heart of the city around the fearsomely fast Montjuïc road circuit, which alternated with Jarama near Madrid before the event moved south to Jerez in the 1980s.
The modern Barcelona circuit is somewhat tamer in comparison. It’s a track that the teams and drivers know extremely well from the amount of testing that takes place there, so there aren’t always many surprises. But that doesn’t mean the circuit hasn’t provided us with some memorable moments over the years.
One image from the very first race there in 1991 remains perhaps the most iconic: the sight of Nigel Mansell’s Williams and Ayrton Senna’s McLaren side-by-side down the pit straight, Mansell making a famous move stick into Turn 1 on a damp track on his way to victory. Five years later came Michael Schumacher’s epic first victory for Ferrari in wet weather. In 2001, Schumacher won again thanks to a cruel blow for Mika Hakkinen when his engine failed on the very last lap.
More recently, Pastor Maldonado held off Fernando Alonso for an unlikely win with Williams in 2012, while in 2016 the track was the scene for Max Verstappen’s maiden win in his first race for Red Bull – after Mercedes pair Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg had collided on the first lap.