Circuit De Catalunya, Barcelona

Renowned for providing some of the most spectacular views on the Formula One calendar, the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is a true all-rounder when it comes to driver and spectator satisfaction. It’s 4.657km long, encompassing a range of long fast straights and high-intensity turns.

Constructed in 1991 as part of the Barcelona Olympics development program, the track has hosted Formula One ever since. In that very first edition, a sensational duel between Nigel Mansell and the late great Ayrton Senna culminated in a drag race down the home straight, with Mansell coming out on top on the day. This iconic debut for the circuit firmly established its place on the calendar, and it has remained a fan favourite ever since.

“I like the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. Tyre management will be a key factor, as the degradation is quite high on this track. Overall it is a special track, as it is very technical and has every type of corner“

Charles LeClerc – F1 Driver

What makes this track so popular amongst the drivers is the healthy blend of both high and low speed corners, allowing them to push themselves and their machines to the absolute brink.

Turn three for example, is an extremely long and flat out right-hander that’s notoriously difficult to negotiate, really stretching the cars to the very edge of their aerodynamic capabilities as they fight to maintain speed and grip throughout.

The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is held in high regard for its truly exceptional General Admission area that comes in at a more-than-reasonable price point. There are also a vast array of grandstands to choose from, each with a unique vantage point that often covers a large portion of the circuit.

As one of the only tracks in the current F1 calendar built in the shape of a natural amphitheatre, you’ll struggle to find a ‘bad’ viewing angle at the circuit. The area known as the stadium section is perhaps the best in the business when it comes to spectating spots, and the vantage point here is quite honestly brilliant.

Frequently referred to as the city that never sleeps, there’s plenty to get up to when you’re not at the track. Barcelona’s nightlife attracts people from all around the world. Amenities on site are plentiful, with entertainment provided in various forms across the weekend.

Barcelona has some of the finest food, beaches and weather in all of Europe – possibly even the world. These factors alone make it an absolute must visit, and if you throw in a weekend full of your favourite Formula One drivers fighting for a world championship, you’d be silly to miss the occasion.


Viewing areas

Main Grandstands

If the start and end of race drama is the real highlight for you, then it goes without saying that the main grandstand at any of the circuits around the world is probably your best bet. The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is no exception, making it one of the most popular choices at the track.

It’s extreme popularity also makes it one of the first to sell out every year, so be sure to snag your seats as early as possible. This grandstand offers unparalleled views of the extremely long pit straight, which is the site of lots of action throughout the race, particularly on the approach to turn one. There are video walls available so you can keep up with the rest of the action too.

Thanks to its location, a seat here guarantees you are in close proximity to all the usual entertainment and amenities you’d expect from a Formule One event, and there’s a plethora of food and drink options available too. All the grandstands at the circuit offer seats with seat backs, if comfort is something you tend to worry about. Wheelchair access is an option too.

As one of only two covered grandstands at the track, the main grandstand offers some protection from the hot and humid conditions typically associated with this region of Spain.

While one of the more expensive options, the main grandstand is a sturdy choice for those who want an excellent all round weekend experience. Just be aware, there isn’t much of a view of any of the corners, so if you want to see the more technical aspect of racing as opposed to flat-out speed, you should probably explore other options.

Grandstand J

There aren’t actually many overtaking spots at this circuit – this is in part due to the sheer amount of testing that occurs here, so the drivers know it like the back of their hand. However, if wheel-to-wheel action is what you (like so many others) crave, then turn one is quite possibly the best place to be. Coming immediately after a long DRS zone on the main straight, it sets the scene perfectly for some aggressive and crucial positioning battles.

Perched between the start/finish line and turn one, the J Grandstand isn’t directly over turn one, but closer towards the pit exit. This means you get a decent view of both.

It’s one of the lower budget options too, so great for those who want to splash out elsewhere during their time in Barcelona. It is uncovered, so don’t forget sunscreen. There’s a video wall as standard, keeping you in the loop at all times.

Grandstand K

Located closer to turn one than Grandstand J, this option is slightly better than K. You see the drivers approach the first turn, while also watching them accelerate towards the next section of the track, turns 2 and 3. It doesn’t stop there though…

Thanks to a clear line of sight and the naturally open space at the circuit, you can see the drivers passing all the way over across the infield section of the track, so you really do get value for money in terms of visual contact time.

It’s also one of the slightly cheaper choices, and still has a big screen in sight to follow parts of the race you can’t see. Being near the main straight, it’s pretty close to all the merchandise and refreshment stalls too, so you really feel part of the atmosphere on the day. Be aware though that it doesn’t have a roof cover.

Overall, this grandstand is one of the better places to spend your time at the circuit.

Grandstand E & F

If intimacy is what you’re after, then the F grandstand puts you up close and personal with the iconic first corner. You’re almost guaranteed your fair share of action here, and it offers the best views of the first bend. It’s definitely a respectable choice of seating, however the extremely high standard of the grandstands at the circuit means it’s still probably one of the weaker options.

It tends to be a bit pricier than its cousins J & K, but doesn’t offer a view of the main straight as part of its package. Catch fencing is a bit of an inconvenience here too – even for the uppermost rows in the stand, the very top of the catch fencing hinders the view of the racing line slightly, as the vehicles enter the turn.
There is a TV screen to keep tabs on whatever unfolds after the drivers pass you. It’s uncovered, like most of the stands at this track.

While there are superior seating choices at a similar price point, by no means is Grandstand F bad, and you’re still certain to have a fantastic time. If it was at any other circuit, it would probably be one of the best grandstands available.

Grandstand E is a bit further from the corner than F, but has more or less the same view. Both are nicely within reach of the merchandise and refreshment zones, with toilets nearby too.

Grandstands A and L

These two grandstands are fairly close to each other, but the contrast in views is quite significant. A, similar to F, overlooks the first turn and some of the pit straight, while also covering some of turn 2, and the exit and acceleration towards turn 3. Though a little further away from the track than some of the other stands, it’s a brilliant all-rounder that ensures you get to see your favourite racing drivers for a prolonged amount of time.

Catch fencing isn’t an issue here, making it an excellent choice for any budding photographers. If you’re lucky, you might be able to grab a quick snapshot as the drivers head into turn 5 a little further in the distance, depending on where in the stand you’re sitting. Pack your Zoom lens!

For a mid-budget option, it’s a safe bet, and the atmosphere is good here too.

Both A and L are uncovered.

Providing a truly marvellous panoramic vantage point is Grandstand L, sitting on the inside of the track. From here, you can genuinely see most of the circuit, including the main straight, turn 3, and the entirety of the track between turns 4 and 7.

For the rare occasions when the drivers are out of sight, there’s big screens there so you don’t need to worry about missing any key moments.

Grandstand L is arguably one of the best grandstands on the F1 calendar, making it one of the go-to’s for anyone wanting to guarantee an incredible day at the circuit.

It tends to sell out well in advance, so make sure you secure a ticket early. It’s uncovered, and a little further from the pit straight so you won’t be ‘right in the thick of things’ as such.

Grandstands B, G, C and H

Known as the stadium section, this area of the circuit comprises Grandstands B, G C and H, with each offering a slightly different vantage point.

Made up of numerous low to medium speed corners, drivers pass here at relatively slow speeds, ensuring you can really get a good look at the best drivers in the world demonstrating their craft.

Something to note though is that the stadium section is not renowned for its overtaking opportunities, so don’t expect to be seeing loads of wheel to wheel action. That being said, you can never rule it out. There’s a short distance between each of the corners, so photo opportunities are plentiful as the machines weave in and out.

G overlooks turn 12 at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. The grandstand is absolutely massive, full of hoards of screaming fans, so the atmosphere is truly electric. Blocks 18-24 are your best bet if you get the choice of a ticket here, allowing for a slightly wider field of view than elsewhere in the same stand.

If you’re keen on being right in the hustle and bustle of it all, anywhere in the stadium section is a good choice, but you’ll probably have the most fun in grandstand G thanks to the sheer number of people here.

H offers an almost identical view to that of Grandstand G, but with the added benefit of there being no catch fencing hindering the view. Photographers, professional and amateur alike, should go for a spot in this grandstand if they’re serious about taking pictures.

It’s also slightly closer to the pit straight, so the view of this bit of track is a little better.

B Grandstands sits next to G, but offers probably the least varied view at this point of the circuit. It’s still more than OK, and the view is very good for the price you’ll pay, but G is a much better option.

Grandstand C sandwiches itself somewhere between G and H, and again, offers very respectable views that are more or less the same. It’s similar in price, but I would suggest going for one of the grandstands either side of it, if you get the option.

All the grandstands in the stadium section are uncovered, so you aren’t protected from the elements. Pack sunscreen, bring an umbrella for shade, and stay hydrated. There are toilets, merchandise stalls and other food and amenities nearby , so there’s no need to stress about bringing a huge packed lunch. Video walls are dotted about everywhere too, so you won’t be missing any key race moments.

If you’re lucky enough to grab a ticket for a grandstand in this area of the track, you’re sure to have a blast. A booming atmosphere,while being surrounded by passionate and like minded people all with an incredible view of the circuit below. It’s the perfect formula for one of the best days of your life.

Grandstand I

The I grandstand lets you watch the drivers slingshot in and out of the final turn, a key part of the race.

In all honesty, there are a number of better places to be sat at the circuit. The field of view isn’t great, and you don’t get to see as much of the track as you do at most other grandstands.

That being said, the last turn is pivotal in deciding the race outcome, being extremely fast and leading into the DRS zone as the drivers fly towards turn one, the main overtaking zone. Furthermore, that final lap excitement goes unmatched, and you’ll be in possibly the best location to watch it all unfold.

It’s the only covered grandstand besides the main grandstand too, so if being protected from the catalonian climate is important to you, it’s one of your only options. It’s not bad value, and there’s a big screen nearby.

General Admission

For sheer value for money, you simply cannot go wrong with the general admission at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

If the added benefit of a comfy seat that comes with a grandstand package isn’t particularly appealing to you, then you should seriously consider sticking with a general admission ticket.

Whether you’re a seasoned spectator, or in Barcelona for your first formula one experience, there’s plenty to choose from.

GA is stacked full of refreshment and merchandise stalls, so you’re never too far from some tasty food if you get peckish. There’s also various forms of entertainment going on throughout the course of the weekend.

For those chasing the very best vantage points, you’re going to need to get there as soon as the gates open, as there are thousands of fans with the same idea as you, who may have been before so know exactly where they need to head.

Be prepared for a long day in the searing heat, though it will no doubt be worth it.

It’s relatively easy to get around the general admission area, and the spots near turns 1 and 2 and turns 4 and 5 offer some decent views, which will look even better knowing how much money you’ve saved by not playing it safe and going for a grandstand.