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Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Why F1 isn’t any stranger to Madrid

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As F1 confirmed its long-mooted transfer to Madrid in 2026 for a 10-year interval, we glance again on the collection’ first decade within the area.

The Jarama circuit, within the Group of Madrid however about 30 km from the town, was inaugurated in 1967 and following an illustration race in November, the twisty 3.404-kilometre circuit hosted its first correct F1 grand prix on 12 Might 1968.

Chris Amon put Ferrari on pole place and regarded heading in the right direction to win till on lap 57 of 90 a gasoline pump failure compelled him to retire. Graham Hill, who had come from seventh on the grid, inherited first place and handed Lotus the victory.

Nevertheless, after that first profitable version, F1 started to alternate Jarama with Barcelona’s perilous Montjuic Circuit, with the Madrid observe internet hosting the Spanish GP in 1970, 1972 and 1974 till a deadly accident within the 1975 race ended Montjuic’s keep on the calendar.

Jarama hosted the Spanish GP for the second time in 1970, however the occasion descended into chaos over the variety of contributors allowed to begin the race and over whether or not or not observe and qualifying outcomes would depend for the grid.

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Drivers took the the grid with out understanding if they’d certified or not and finally solely 16 vehicles had been allowed to begin, with the likes of Jo Siffert forcefully thrown off the grid.

The drama did not cease there as on the primary lap Jackie Oliver slammed into Jacky Ickx’s Ferrari, setting each vehicles ablaze. With Ickx coming off worse, a steward and a member of the Guardia Civil helped the Belgian escape the inferno.

Picture by: Motorsport Images

Poleman Chris Amon, Ferrari 312 is left behind by Pedro Rodriguez, BRM P133 and Denny Hulme, McLaren M7A Ford at the beginning

Lauda’s first victory

Emerson Fittipaldi took his second F1 victory at Jarama in 1972, in a wet race held on a Monday. However maybe probably the most historic version got here in 1974. In a wet-to-dry race that took two full hours, Ferrari’s Niki Lauda put in a superb efficiency from pole to take his maiden F1 grand prix win, and Ferrari’s fiftieth.

On the 1976 race, Lauda arrived with three damaged ribs after a tractor accident on his farm in Salzburg. He nonetheless certified second behind title rival James Hunt and a retirement for Hunt’s team-mate Jochen Mass ensured the ending order remained the identical.

Afterwards, Hunt was disqualified on technical grounds, however two months later he was reinstated because the winner following a prolonged enchantment process.

Again-to-back wins for Mario Andretti and Lotus in 1977 and 1978 had been adopted by a triumph for Ligier’s Patrick Depailler, in maybe the final quiet version of the Spanish GP at Jarama.

Mario Andretti in the new Lotus 79

Picture by: Rainer W. Schlegelmilch / Motorsport Images

Mario Andretti within the new Lotus 79


The 1980 version came about on the peak of the FISA-FOCA struggle, a long-simmering dispute between the divisive Jean-Marie Balestre’s governing physique and the Bernie Ecclestone-led band of constructors, which boiled over in Spain by Balestre handing out heavy fines to drivers lacking security briefings.

With Balestre demanding any excellent fines needed to be paid for the on-track motion to go forward, the Spanish vehicle membership RACE provided to pay them up entrance in a bid to save lots of its race.

However with no compromise forthcoming, RACE took management of its occasion and held the race exterior FISA’s auspices, with its supportive groups Ferrari, Renault and Alfa Romeo not collaborating.

The 12 remaining FOCA-aligned groups nonetheless contested a non-points race of attrition gained by Williams’ Alan Jones.

The 1981 version of the Spanish GP proved to be the final at Jarama. The race itself was a spectacle, delivering Gilles Villeneuve’s closing F1 victory after a titanic defence towards Jacques Laffite, beating the Frenchman by a mere 0.220s.

From a industrial standpoint, it was a failure, nonetheless, with solely 25,000 folks filling the grandstands as a result of excessive ticket costs and a bomb risk from terrorist group ETA.

The grand prix had already been making yearly losses and RACE couldn’t sustain its monetary help. With additional query marks over its security, which might have required extra funding, Jarama disappeared off the calendar.

Gilles Villeneuve, Ferrari 126CK followed by Jacques Laffite, Ligier JS17 Matra and John Watson, McLaren MP4/1 Ford.

Picture by: Motorsport Images

Gilles Villeneuve, Ferrari 126CK adopted by Jacques Laffite, Ligier JS17 Matra and John Watson, McLaren MP4/1 Ford.

Spain then went 5 years with out F1 racing till its return in 1986 at Jerez. However since then it has been part of the calendar uninterruptedly for almost 40 years, with 5 editions at Jerez adopted by a profitable transfer to Montmelo close to Barcelona, which is ready for its thirty fourth consecutive grand prix this yr.

However amid Fernando Alonso’s enduring reputation and Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari transfer, curiosity from Madrid steadily picked up once more.

The capital was chosen as the primary metropolis to host the official F1 Exhibition, which might be visited from April till the top of August final yr at its IFEMA conference centre close to the Barajas Worldwide Airport.

It additional opened the doorways for IFEMA to host the Spanish Grand Prix from 2026 onwards, with Barcelona’s F1 future past its present 2026 deal nonetheless unclear.

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