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Trackside – 2018 Spanish Grand Prix

Filed in Spanish F1 Travel Guide by on 76 Comments

How to get the most out of your experience at Circuit de Catalunya for the Spanish Formula 1 Grand Prix. The next race takes place on May 10-13, 2018.

All images © f1destinations.com.

We only went to the Spanish Grand Prix for the first time in 2016, but Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on the outskirts of Barcelona has quickly established itself as our favorite European circuit! The natural amphitheater layout of the circuit makes for great spectating, the weather is normally warm and sunny and the race weekend is well organized. Don’t forget to wear comfortable shoes for “Free Friday,” when there’s free access to all the grandstands, apart from N & E. There is little shade in the General Admission areas and the majority of Grandstands are uncovered, so don’t forget to bring a hat and sunscreen.

CIRCUIT DE CATALUNYA: 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.
  • 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 Getting Around.
  • 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.

SPANISH GRAND PRIX: ON-TRACK SCHEDULE

The full race program for the 2018 Spanish Grand Prix weekend features F1’s two main feeder series, Formula 2 and GP3, both of which will stage two races over the course of the weekend. The schedule also includes Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup action. All these series are super competitive and should provide plenty of close racing. 

Thursday, May 10

  • 16:00-18:30: Pit Lane Walk for 3-Day Ticketholders
  • 16:00-18:00: F1 Driver’s Autograph Session (TBC)
  • 18:30-19:00: Pit Lane Walk (F1 Experiences guests)
  • 19:00-19:30: Drive the Track Tour (F1 Experiences guests)

Friday, May 11

  • 09:30-10:15: GP3 practice
  • 11:00-12:30: Formula 1 practice (FP1)
  • 13:00-13:45: Formula 2 practice
  • 15:00-16:30: Formula 1 practice (FP2)
  • 16:55-17:25: Formula 2 qualifying
  • 17:50-18:20: GP3 qualifying
  • 18:45-19:30: Porsche Supercup practice

Saturday May 12

  • 10:15-11:00: GP3 race one (22 laps)
  • 12:00-13:00: Formula 1 practice (FP3)
  • 13:30-14:00: Porsche Supercup qualifying
  • 15:00-16:00: Formula 1 qualifying
  • 16:40-17:45: Formula 2 race one (37 laps)
  • 18:00-19:00: Fan Forum
  • 19:00-20:00: Run the Track

Sunday May 13

  • 10:25-11:00: GP3 race 2 (17 laps)
  • 11:30-12:20: Formula 2 race 2 (26 laps)
  • 12:45-13:20: Porsche Supercup race (14 laps)
  • 13:30-13:50: F1 drivers track parade
  • 15:10-17:00: 2018 Spanish Formula 1 Grand Prix (66 laps)
Additional activities
Fans with either three-day or Sunday tickets are entitled to participate in the pitlane walk on Thursday from 4pm-6:30pm. A driver’s autograph session is also planned at this time (still listed as TBC), as is a “Karting Exhibition with F1 Drivers” at the Actividad Circuit. A Fan Forum is also scheduled for the stage in the F1 Fanzone (behind the Main Grandstand) from 6-7pm on Saturday evening, followed by the opportunity to “Run the Track” from 7-8pm.

 

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 entrance gates 1 and 6 where you can get the real thing. Click here for more information.

CIRCUIT DE CATALUNYA FACILITIES

  • The quality, value for money 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 that alcohol is prohibited inside the circuit. Water and soft drinks 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. If you want a real beer and something to eat, you’ll find bars and food trucks just outside most entrance gates (gate 1 and 6 for example); it’s no problem to get a pass out and come back to the circuit.
  • There are plenty of toilet facilities that are generally well maintained and cleaned regularly throughout the weekend.
  • The new and improved F1 Village is located 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.
  • 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 live timing with the F1 app.

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

November 13, 2018

Travel Basics – Spanish Grand Prix

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

November 5, 2018

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 Barcelona-Catalunya.

October 13, 2018

Tickets – 2019 Spanish Grand Prix

Your guide to buying tickets and watching the action at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya for the 2019 Spanish Formula 1 Grand Prix

August 21, 2018

Accommodation – 2019 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.

May 6, 2018

Spanish Grand Prix Travel Quiz

How well do you know Barcelona and the Spanish Grand Prix? Test your skills in our new F1 travel quiz!

April 22, 2018

Trackside – 2018 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.

March 1, 2018

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.

January 25, 2018

Race Facts – Spanish Grand Prix

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

January 12, 2018

Budget Planner – 2018 Spanish Grand Prix

Plan the cost of your trip to the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona with our budget planner.

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Comments (76)

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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.

  7. Sue Egan says:

    Hi there. I am going with my husband for the very first time this year. I have read total alcohol ban. Is it ok to take plastic bottle with soft drinks in and food. Also , what is best to wear . Thanks x

    • Editor says:

      Hi Sue, there is an alcohol ban inside the track. (There are bars with alcohol outside gates 1 and 6 if you need a drink – you can get a pass out and return to the track during the day). You will be ok with plastic bottles, but maybe not more than one half liter bottle per person. Warning – they may take the bottle lids off you, so pack one or two more separately. (Same inside the track – cans and bottles are poured into plastic cups and you can’t keep lids). What to wear? Check the weather forecast, but it’s normally quite warm. Comfortable shoes are a must as you will be covering plenty of distance on foot. Enjoy!

  8. Wes Stewart says:

    Hi I have a 3 day ticket Tribuna A Zona 8 3 day ticket. Face value 330 euros. For 210 pounds. My son can’t go with me now due to circumstances. If interested let me know. Can special delivery etc. Thx Wes.

  9. Verald says:

    Hi,
    Thank you for this awesome blog – a ton of useful information for someone who’s going to GP for the first time. I’ve been watching/interesting it since 1990 and IT IS THE TIME to see it live finally in Spain! Sooo… excited and wanna to make it perfect, so…
    Two questions (not about alcohol this time) but:
    1. camera – are there any restrictions regarding the photo devices you can take with you?
    2. food – any restrictions (except the glass bottles) you can bring in? I’m going with my kids and it’s going to be a long day for them. Reading your article I don’t think I can rely on quality (and prices!) of the food on circuit.

    Thanks!

    • Editor says:

      Czesc Lukasz, thanks for the kind words! You should be OK taking a camera with a 400m or smaller lens. There’s no restrictions on food as far as I am aware, just avoid bringing glassware.

  10. Pete says:

    Hi my wife and I are driving to the Spanish Grand Prix. I have breathing difficulties and can’t walk more than 100m without a rest. I bought my ticket privately for tribune K row 3 before I knew that people with mobility problems have deigneted areas in the main stand and stand G and there are also separate parking fascilities there for people like myself with a European blue badge. I have tried calling the circuit with not much luck in contacting the right person or having them respond. Can you give me any practical advice please?

  11. Nigel says:

    Hi, Some great tips here thanks. Can I just confirm you are sure about taking an DSLR camera into the circuit with a say a 70-105mm lens as I have read a lot forums that say otherwise.

    I don’t want to take a chance and be refused entry, I have emailed the circuit but had no reply. Oh and I leave tomorrow.

    Thanks in advance.

    • Editor says:

      Hi Nigel, I cannot be 100% sure as it’s not stated on the website. But I don’t think you will have any problem getting in with the lens you mentioned. Anything under 400mm should be fine. Good luck, perhaps you will share some your photos with us afterwards!

  12. Katie Walker says:

    Hi,
    I’m at the Grand Prix this weekend and wondered if anyone had any tips on where to get on the track after the race for the podium presentation?
    We have tickets for stand J but have been wondering around most of the day, we don’t really mind if we don’t sit in our seats during the race tomorrow.

    Also any tips on where we could see the drivers arriving? Or is that’s super duper ticket access?

    Katie

    • Editor says:

      Hi Katie, the main entry points for the track invasion/podium ceremony are either end of the Main Grandstand. The end closer to the final corner is much closer to the podium. I suggest you get there around 10 mins before the end of the race so you will be one of the first to get on to the track. We got a great view last year! As for driver’s arriving, you won’t have much luck. There is an entrance at the top of the circuit (close to gate 1) but they stay in the cars and go straight into the circuit via a tunnel.

  13. Penny says:

    Are you allowed to walk the track after the Formula one race?

    • Editor says:

      Hi Penny, you can definitely enter the main straight for the podium celebrations. But I don’t think you can walk the whole track.

    • Julian B Timberlake says:

      Yes. 2017 we got on the track on the short straight between 3 and 4 and walked back to the start finish line. Lots of marbles.

  14. Jonnie says:

    Hi. Is it still alcohol ban this year? Food and like coca cola, water is ok?

    • Editor says:

      Yes, there is still an alcohol ban in force at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, but you can leave the circuit for real beer just outside several gates and return. You can bring other drinks in plastic bottles, but they can take the lids from you (bring a few spare lids separately to solve this problem!)

  15. Bianca says:

    Hello! Is is possible to buy parking tickets at the circuit site also on Saturday?

  16. Michal says:

    Hi,
    Im going this year for GP Catalunya,
    I wonder one thing,
    It’s better for me bought ticket for Main grandstand, opposite pit lane park or Tribune F
    I still ca decide my choice.
    And after race it’s chance to get into track from Main grandstand?
    Thank You
    Really great blog !!!

    • Editor says:

      Czesc Michal. I’d probably choose grandstand F, because I prefer to see on-track action rather than pits action. After the race, you can get on to the track from both sides (ends) of the Main Grandstand, even if you are not sitting there. Don’t forget you also have Free Friday, where you can sit in pretty much any grandstand you want. A good day to explore the circuit! You’ll find video views of mine from all grandstands in our Tickets Guide for the Spanish GP.

      • Joscha says:

        Are the entrys to the track the red gates around the main grandstand or is the entry somewhere on the main grandstand?
        Thank you

  17. Dave.F says:

    Hi,
    I’ve noticed that you have given advice to others about taking digital cameras into the Spanish GP and that they are allowed, however I’ve noticed on the rear of this years ticket that it states photographic cameras are not allowed, has it changed for this year or are they relaxed about this rule? thanks in advance.

    • Editor says:

      I don’t know about any change of regulations, but I would follow previous advice. I don’t imagine you will be stopped with a camera, most fans have them! Should be fairly relaxed on entry about cameras unless you have a huge lens.

      • Dave.F says:

        Thanks for your reply, I am thinking of taking a 70-200mm lens which is about 8″ long excluding the camera, hopefully I won’t get stopped, this is my first and probably last chance to attend a GP. Regards.

  18. michael harrison says:

    we have tickets for all 3 days of the spanish grand prix. Is the pitlane walk on the saturday between 4-7pm? and also do we qualify to be able to do that pitlane walk?

  19. Scott marshall says:

    Hi

    I’m getting the bus Sunday morning from the city centre to the circuit, can you advise the best way back to the airport after the race? My flight is at 2100hrs, taxi straight to BCN or return bus to the city centre first?

    Many thanks

  20. Leonis Bardwell says:

    Are there places to leave luggage at the track?

    • Editor says:

      Sorry, I’m not sure. I suggest you contact the circuit (they will probably reply if you ask on social media). Let us know the answer!

  21. Ollie D says:

    Hi, we are travelling in a group of 10 to the catalunya gp this year, we only have general admission and are partial to a beer or two throughout the day. we shall be arriving by coach from Barcelona and are wondering which gate is the best to be near so we are able to go and get a drink (alcohol) with out huge walks? also are there multiple drop off points for the coaches? any advise is much appreciated!

    • Editor says:

      Sorry Ollie, I’m not sure about the drop off points for the coaches. The biggest bar area I saw was right beside Gate 6. Also a bar near Gate 1 at the top of the circuit. Most general admission areas are between these two gates.

  22. Mhairi says:

    Hi!

    Do you know where I would be able to find out more information about “Run the Track”?

  23. John says:

    What is the view like from the new position of stand H. front row zone 11 is booked.

  24. Gary says:

    I am booked on the campsite from Friday to Sunday, Am I able to access the campsite on Thursday as I will miss out on Thursdays activities if I can’t access. I have a 3 day Grand Prix ticket.

  25. John says:

    Hi,

    We have general admission tickets for sunday. Do you know what time the gates open on sunday? We would like te get a good spot to view the race(hopefully with a screen). What time do the most people usually arive at the track?
    And can you normally leave your stuff somewhere and check out the fan zone, or will someone take your place?

    Thanks!

    • Editor says:

      Hi John, gates open at 7am on Sunday and the first on-track action begins at 10:25am (GP3 race). I don’t like to get up too early, so I would be looking to arrive between 9-10am. There’s also plenty of room in the General Admission areas. Yes, it would be good to secure a spot early on the grass, but this only works if you are a big group. Up to you, but I would just enjoy the Fanzone and then aim to get a spot to watch from about midday. The area between turns 5 and 9 is best, in my opinion.

  26. Fiona says:

    Hi,

    We have a bus booked to get to the track on Saturday and Sunday but would also like to go to the pit lane walk on the Thursday and notice a bus isn’t available for Thursday. What is the best way to get there on Thursday? If we get a taxi will we easily manage to get one back?
    Also, what are the chances of actually getting an autograph during the autograph session on Thursday?

    Thanks,
    Fiona

    • Editor says:

      Best way to get there on Thursday is to take the train to Montmelo, then walk or short taxi ride. Details on Getting There and Around. There’s supposed to be an organized autograph session as part of Pit Lane Walk on Thursday, but can be lots of people. You may get some autographs, but whether you get your favorite driver’s autograph I cannot say, good luck!

  27. Steve says:

    Hello,

    First time F1 attendee here…due to my employment I may be able to hop a free flight to Barcelona on Thursday evening US time, arriving on Friday am. How do you like my chances of picking up a 3 day or 1 day Pelouse at the track on Friday or Saturday? I assume the track ticket office can sell me one if available?

    Thanks

  28. Dave T says:

    I’ve only just realised the start time is an hour later than previous years. Although it doesnt appear that Sagales bus company have noticed, their timetable looks to be the same as last year. I guess that means more beers outside the gate beforehand!

  29. Konstantin says:

    Hello, very nice article! :)
    Can you please confirm that entrance to free practice 1 and 2 is free?
    Also about autograph session, is it also free?
    Thank you, best regards Konstantin

    • Editor says:

      No, you still need an entrance ticket on Friday. You can buy a ticket for Grandstand E or N on Friday for 55 EURO.
      You are supposed to have a 3-day ticket to attend the autograph session and pit lane walk on Thursday, but you could always try your luck without a ticket. I can’t guarantee you will get in.

  30. Konstantin says:

    Just to clarify, I mean, entrance without any ticket, cause I’m not able to get on the gp (leaving Barcelona on Saturday)

  31. ana says:

    Hello,

    I would like to konow exactly what is fan forum? general admission, pelouse, include the forum?

    We’ll arrive at circuit at 8 a.m/ 8;30 a.m., saturday as sunday. I guess that is good, right? an hour without a lot of people.

    thanks

    • Editor says:

      Hi Ana, the Fan Forum takes place on the stage in the F1 Fanzone behind the Main Grandstand. Anyone with a valid ticket can attend. They will have some F1 drivers talking and answering questions I guess. As for your planned arrival time, that’s good!

  32. Lynda says:

    Hi, we are attending the F1 race on Sunday, we are catching the Sagales bus from Barcelona. Does anyone know roughly how far it is to walk from where the bus drops off to the entrance at Gate 7? Or is it better just to go in the main entrance and walk to the Pelops area near gate 7? Thanks.

    • Editor says:

      Hi Lynda, the bus stops very close to Gate 3, which is behind the Main Grandstand and close to the F1 Fanzone. Better to enter at this gate, then walk to the General Admission Area. Follow the direction of the track and there is a handy underpass between the grandstands before the first corner (between E & K) that gets you into the center of the circuit, close to where you want to watch the action. I think it’s around a 20-30 minute walk total.

  33. ana says:

    Hello once again,

    I saw that exist a free bus to take the people from montmelo train station to the circuit entrance. Can you tell at time start the free bus? or is better and more easier to get a taxi?
    the taxi service existe near the montmelo train station and near the circuit entrance?

    What is exactly the fan zone? and the wheather, it will be rainy or sunny, can you tell moreless?

    thank you

  34. Anna says:

    Hi, does anyone know how to join the run the track activity on Saturday? I was told to register online but the website is wrong

  35. Erik says:

    Thanks this is amazing information ! ,

    first time visitor in the spanish GP and managed to get a pelouse ticket for sunday , what corner would you reckon is best to watch?

  36. Martin says:

    We are in stand L. Does anyone know the nearest track access point after the race?

  37. Mike Stollery says:

    We booked parking Car Park C.When we arrived it was full and we plus a lot of oher cars were redirected to an industrial estate miles away to park in the road.Cars were double parked all over the place.Also the ticket doesnt show which entrance you need to go in.We were mis directed three times until we found the right entrance.Lots of people looked lost.
    The food stalls outside are a disgrace.Over priced rubbish food.There were hardly any toilets and blokes were urinating in full view or everyone.
    The inside of the stadium might be or glitz and glamour but the organisation and facilities were very poor.

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