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Trackside – 2017 Spanish Grand Prix

Filed in Spanish F1 Travel Guide by on 13 Comments

Useful information to help you get the most out of your experience at Circuit de Catalunya during the Spanish Formula 1 Grand Prix. The next race takes place on May 12-14, 2017.

All images © This guide will be fully updated for 2017 around one month before the race.

It’s already warm and sunny in Spain in early May, so be sure to wear light and comfortable clothing to the circuit each day. There is little shade in the General Admission areas and the majority of Grandstands are uncovered, so be sure to take your hat and sunscreen. Wear comfortable shoes, as you will be covering quite a bit of ground on foot, particularly if you are coming via public transport (there’s a 30 minute walk from the Montmelo train station to the circuit).

Parking, Access & Orientation

There is ample parking available next to the circuit (approximately 26 000 spaces.) If you are driving in, be sure to know in advance which parking is the closest to your seats and follow the signs to that zone. Three-day parking tickets can be bought along with your tickets for €15-20 EUR. If you are not organized in advance, it’s possible to buy parking tickets when you arrive at the circuit on Thursday or Friday. The Circuit de Catalunya website provides useful parking access maps.

If you wish to camp, then a pitch with your car costs €45 EUR for the weekend (learn more about camping here). The highway system close to the circuit is well signposted and congestion is limited on Friday and Saturday. Allow a bit more time on Sunday to get in and out of the circuit due to the larger numbers of spectators on race day. For more information on getting to Circuit de Catalunya, read the Getting Around section of our guide.

Seven gates provide entry for fans to Circuit de Catalunya. Check the circuit map to determine the best gate to enter based on where you will be siting. Remember that it is forbidden to bring in any glass or cans into the circuit.

Alcohol Ban
A full alcohol ban was introduced at the circuit in 2015 and remains in force. Don’t bring any beer or alcohol into the circuit; you will be searched and it will be confiscated. Only non-alcoholic beer is on sale inside the circuit, but there are bars just outside some entrance gates where you can get the real thing. Click here for more information.

Thursday pit walk for fans

Fans with either three-day or Sunday tickets are entitled to participate in the pitlane walk on Thursday May 12 from 4pm-7pm. There’s good opportunities to meet the drivers and watch the teams in action, but also loads of fans. If you want to avoid the crush, either get there early to be at the front of the queue or wait until later when the crowds die down a bit.

On-track Schedule

The full race program for the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix weekend features F1’s two main feeder series, GP2 and GP3, both of which will have two races over the course of the weekend, on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning. The schedule also includes Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup action. All these series are super competitive and should provide plenty of close racing.

Friday May 13

  • 10:00-11:30: Formula 1 Free Practice 1
  • 12:00-12:45: GP2 Practice
  • 14:00-15;30: Formula 1 Free Practice 2
  • 15:55-16:25: GP2 Qualifying
  • 16:45-17:30: Porsche Supercup Practice
  • 17:50-18:35: GP3 Practice

Saturday May 14

  • 09:45-10:15: GP3 Qualifying
  • 11:00-12:00: Formula 1 Free Practice 3
  • 12:25-12:55: Porsche Supercup Qualifying
  • 14:00-15:00: Formula 1 Qualifying
  • 15:40-16:45: GP2 Race 1 (37 laps)
  • 17:20-18:05: GP3 Race 1 (22 laps)

Sunday May 15

  • 09:15-09:50: GP3 Race 2 (17 laps)
  • 10:25-11:15: GP2 Race 2 (26 laps)
  • 11:35-12:10: Porsche Supercup Race (14 laps)
  • 12:30: F1 drivers track parade
  • 14:00-16:00: Formula 1 Race (66 laps)

F1 Village

You can find the F1 Village behind the Main Grandstand in the Eastern (yellow) section of the circuit. Fans can purchase merchandise from their favourite team as well as check out the displays from major sponsors or have something to eat or drink. The Boulevard of Champions (Avinguda dels Campions) is also located in this area, where you can see plaques commemorating the World Championship winning drivers (and Moto GP riders) who have competed at the circuit over the past 20-odd years.

Following the action

Live commentary is available trackside over the whole F1 weekend in May. The frequency for English and French commentary is 103 FM and for Spanish and Catalan, 103.2 FM. Alternatively, with an internet enabled smart phone you can access the F1 App for live timing.


As with most F1 tracks, the on-site food and drinks are overpriced. The quality and selection of food on offer at Circuit de Catalunya is widely agreed by fans to just about the worst at any race in Europe. Visit a supermarket before you go to the track to stock up on food and drinks, but remember that you won’t get into the circuit with glass or cans and as we stated above, alcohol is prohibited inside the circuit. Water and softdrinks cost around €4 for 500ml with food starting at approx €8 for fast food such as hamburgers and hot dogs, more for pasta or other full meals. There are plenty of toilet facilities at the circuit and they are generally well maintained and cleaned regularly throughout the weekend.

What are your trackside tips for the Spanish Grand Prix? Leave a comment below.

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Comments (13)

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  1. Robert Harris-Jones says:

    Regarding entry restrictions…

    From 2009 to 2012 taking in your own beer in plastic bottles in a cooler was not a problem. Several small supermarkets in Montmello (the local town) sell “cold plastic beer” and ice etc.

    Only problem in 2013 was that, come Sunday, all those shops had mysteriously run out of “plastic beer”!!

    At the 2014 Grand Prix we were allowed to take in our own beer (in plastic bottles) on the Friday but come Saturday that rule had changed and we were NOT allowed to take our own beer into the circuit! We sat close to a local Spanish season ticket holder who had steam coming out of his ears as even he had his beer taken off him for the first time ever!!

    I think you need to update your information to say that you will probably not be allowed to take your own alcohol into the circuit. Food and soft drinks seemed to still be OK this year.

    Prices for beer at the circuit were 4€ for 330cl, 8€ for 660cl and 11€ for 100cl.

  2. Andy says:

    Last year (2014) on the Sunday they were very strict. This year (2015) there is no alcohol at all on any day and all the beer they sell in circuit which is still €11 for a large is now Alcohol free.

    Unless of course you are rich, then you get champagne :)

    • Editor says:

      Thanks for the update Andy, not good news!

      • James Henry says:

        Any one know why it is alcohol free this year??

        • Editor says:

          Hi James, cannot confirm, but we were told it was a licensing issue, that someone forgot to apply for the right permits. Let’s hope this is remedied for 2016, because it made for a lot of unhappy fans this year.

          • Jason McRazor says:

            It certainly did! And I have to say the food outlets around the track were awful, some of the most dire food I have ever come across. Also they were selling the non-alcoholic beer without telling people it was non-alcoholic, a lot of people were duped! Also there’s the pathetic “no bottle cap” rule on drinks brought into the track and drink bought at the track, this is due to “safety reasons”, one of the most pathetic excuses ive ever heard!!

  3. Steven Martin says:

    I would agree that a lot of people were duped last weekend in paying 11 euros for a none alcoholic beer. The food offering was dreadful and I think it lead to a very flat atmosphere within the circuit. The no bottle cap rule is crazy, it makes no sense at all.
    We had a good weekend overall, but a very disappointing experience from the circuit. Possibly one to avoid for next year unless they get their act together.

  4. Nik says:

    Hi all, can anyone tell me where is the best place to meet the drivers at the Barcelona Grand Prix?

  5. Jack says:

    HI Guys,

    Can anyone confirm wheter or not the “licensing” issue has been resolved. or will we be without beer again this year?

    • Editor says:

      Sorry Jack, it hasn’t been resolved and inside the circuit is still a dry zone. But you can get passouts at most gates (especially gate 1, gate 6) and there are bars just outside serving real beer. So you can go for a quick pitstop and come back!

  6. m.c. says:

    After six years of following F1, I’m going to my first Grand Prix to Barcelona :)) this blog is hilarious, I’m full of respect for all your effort! I’ve just got one question: what is exactly that thursday pit walk? Where can you go – garages, or just the open paddock space? Can you really meet drivers and team workers there? I’ll be really grateful for the response – Thank you!

    • Editor says:

      You get to walk down the pitlane, so you can see all the teams working on the cars. Normally, the drivers also make an appearance and sign some autographs. But it can get pretty congested, especially when the drivers come out. So not good for people who get claustrophobic or don’t like crowds of people.

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