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Your guide to 2017 F1 preseason testing in Barcelona

Filed in Blog/News by on 25 Comments

Want to be one of the first to see the new generation of 2017 Formula 1 cars on track? Then you’ll need to get to beautiful Barcelona, which will be holding F1’s only 2017 preseason tests in late February and early March.

All images © F1Destinations. Click here to buy pre-season testing tickets.

Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona was confirmed in late October as the host of all eight pre-season testing days for 2017, which will be held in a two-week period beginning on February 27 and ending on March 10. Some teams had been pushing for testing in the warmer climes of the Middle East (Bahrain or Abu Dhabi), but it appears that cost, convenience and continuity have won out. F1 is undergoing one of its periodic technical shakeups for 2017. The cars are going to be louder, more “aggressive” looking (thanks to being wider, heavier and running on wider tires) and supposedly up to 5 seconds a lap faster.

Why go?

This will be the only opportunity to see the new-look cars on track before the 2017 season kicks off in Melbourne on March 26. Tickets are really cheap (or free, see below) and spectators get free roaming access to most of the circuit’s (pretty empty) grandstands. You’ll feel like you have the circuit to yourself, especially if Fernando Alonso isn’t appearing that day.

In addition, VIP tickets (above the pits) are not nearly as expensive as at a full race weekend and normally include a supervised tour of the paddock. VIP tickets or not, it’s still probably your best chance all year to get that selfie with your favorite driver.

Where?
Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona near the town of Montmeló, 30km from downtown Barcelona and close to the Costa Brava
When?
> Test 1: Monday February 27 to Thursday March 2, 2017

> Test 2: Tuesday March 7 to Friday March 10, 2017

Tickets

General Admission tickets cost €20 per day and can be purchased in advance or at the gate. The mid-week running of the tests obviously impacts the number of spectators coming to the circuit, meaning that tickets are highly unlikely to sell out ahead of time. Piso Box VIP tickets – above the pits –  cost €230 per day and include a limited tour of the paddock area. Red Bull is also offering hospitality tickets – priced from €625 per day, including food and drinks, full paddock access all day and a tour of the Red Bull garage.  Click here to buy from Gootickets.

Want to get in for free? Buy advance 3-day or Sunday tickets to the 2017 Spanish Grand Prix (provisionally May 12-14) and you will be granted FREE entry to the test days. We’ve recently updated our guide on buying tickets to the Spanish Grand Prix, which now includes our own videos and pictures showing you the views from all the grandstands and general admission areas at Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona. You can save 20% when buying before November 30, 2016 (or 10% before February 28, 2017)

Take a guided tour

Guided tours of the circuit are also available during the test days. The tour costs €50 and also includes a full day’s access to the grandstands and general admission areas. The tour can be booked at the gate when you arrive. There are three daily tours each day of the testing; at 10:00, 12:00 and 15:00. The tour lasts around 75 minutes and includes a look at the briefing room, pre-podium area, podium, vídeo room and paddock, as well as the internal service roads around the circuit. The tours depart from the circuit shop behind the main grandstand (enter and buy tickets at gate 3 nearby).

Where to stay and how to get to the track?

The teams and media generally book the best hotels close to the track, meaning you could have some interesting guests in the breakfast room if you stay near Montmeló. Further afield, the beautiful city of Barcelona is only 30km away and it’s not too difficult to take a train to the circuit (our advice on Getting Around at the Spanish Grand Prix is also valid for testing.)

Another option is to hire a car and stay in one of the coastal towns on the nearby Costa Brava such as Montgat or Lloret del Mar. They will be quiet at this time of year, but still pleasant. It’s best to fly into Ryanair’s hub at nearby Girona airport if you choose to stay on the Costa Brava and hire a car. There’s a good network of motorways in the region and traffic should be light if you avoid Barcelona; just don’t forget to take a GPS or have navigation available on your smartphone.

Don’t forget…

It’s called testing for a reason. Not all the new cars will be fast or reliable out of the box, not all the big-name drivers will be there every day and not much of the on-track action will be ‘on-the-limit’. None of this will stop us being there….!

More information

  • Click here for circuit access maps
  • It’s best to enter via Gate 3 behind the main grandstand; we can’t guarantee the other gates will be open. The cars will be on track from 09:00-13:00 and 14:00-18:00 each day.
  • Spain is starting to get warmer in March, with daytime temperatures in Barcelona averaging around 16 °C (61 °F). Realistically though, you can expect anything from snow and rain to warm sunny weather, so be prepared.
  • Read our detailed travel guide to the Spanish Grand Prix for advice on travelling to Barcelona and getting the most out of your stay. We will be updating the guide for 2017 in the coming months.

Been to Formula 1 testing in Barcelona? Tell us your tips in the comments field below.

February 19, 2017

Race Facts – Spanish Grand Prix

History, facts and background of the Spanish Formula 1 Grand Prix at the Circuit de Catalunya outside Barcelona.

February 18, 2017

Travel Basics – Spanish Grand Prix

Useful travel information to help you plan your trip to the Spanish F1 Grand Prix in Barcelona.

February 18, 2017

Budget Planner – 2017 Spanish Grand Prix

Read our budget planner to help plan the cost of your trip to the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona

February 9, 2017

Trackside – 2017 Spanish Grand Prix

Useful information to help you get the most out of your experience at Circuit de Catalunya during the Spanish Formula 1 Grand Prix.

December 21, 2016

Getting There & Around – Spanish Grand Prix

Advice on flights to Barcelona for the Spanish F1 Grand Prix, getting around in the city and information on how to get to Circuit de Catalunya.

December 20, 2016

Accommodation – 2017 Spanish Grand Prix

A selection of the best-rated accommodation in Barcelona for F1 fans going to the Spanish Grand Prix at Circuit de Catalunya.

November 12, 2016

Off-Track Activities – Spanish Grand Prix

Barcelona boasts world class art and cultural attractions, great shopping, buzzing nightlife and enough dining options to please every budget and palate.

October 27, 2016

Tickets – 2017 Spanish Grand Prix

Your comprehensive guide on buying tickets and where to watch the action at the 2017 Spanish Formula 1 Grand Prix at Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona.

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About the Author ()

Andrew Balfour is the Founder and Editor of F1Destinations.com. He originally hails from Adelaide, where he went to his first F1 race way back in 1987. He's been resident in Europe for almost 15 years and travels regularly to F1 races around the world.

Comments (25)

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  1. Dozo says:

    Do you know if the alcohol ban in the F1 event is going to be still effective this year in Barcelona?

    • Editor says:

      Yes, I believe that this will continue. Sorry about that! But there are bars just outside the gates where you can get real beer. You can leave and return for a pitstop!

  2. Steven Flint says:

    Do you know if you can take your camera to the testing?

  3. Paolo says:

    Hi, there will be food kiosks around the circuit during the test days?

    • Editor says:

      Hi Paolo, I am not sure that many food kiosks will be open, probably just a couple behind the main grandstand. Of course they are expensive as well. We will be taking our own food and drink!

  4. Tiger says:

    Can you walk around the whole track or are you penned into a specific section of the track ?

    • Editor says:

      Yes, General Admission areas around the track should be open. The organizers also promise access to the following grandstands: Main Grandstand, F, G, H, and I.

  5. vince says:

    Is it possible to arrive at any time during the day?

  6. Sebastian says:

    It seems like all the tickets are sold out already. Are additional tickets for sale on day of the tests?

  7. timi says:

    hi. can I buy tickets at the gate??

  8. massimiliano forestiero says:

    Hi…It’s possibile to move between the varius grandstand? for example: move from grandstand H to main or principale grandstand without leaving the turnstiles?

    Thanks

  9. Phil Wright says:

    Such a handy guide. I’m there this week. I’ll be getting the train from Barcelona to Montmelo and then walking from there. Do you think Gate 6 will not be open, meaning I should therefore head to Gate 3 instead?

  10. Igor says:

    do you know team line up for tomorrow testing ? or for all days ?

  11. Cris says:

    Great tips, Thanks.
    What would je your best chance to get a driver signature/ selfie. I’m currently on the track and will also be next 2 days.

    • Editor says:

      Hi Cris, it will be difficult if you just have a regular ticket without pits/paddock access. The drivers come into the circuit through a special gate at the top of the circuit – between gate 1 and gate 7 – so not much chance there either. But you never know who you may run into if you just walk around. Also follow the circuit and teams on social media, as they may run competitions or offer the chance to meet the drivers. Good luck!

  12. Cris says:

    Thanks for the quick reply. Will do

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