The Barcelona Formula 1 Grand Prix takes place at the Catalunya Circuit in the town of Montmelo, some 20 kilometres to the north east of downtown Barcelona. The main event is on Sunday (in 2011, that will be on 22nd May) while practicing and qualifying sessions take place on the preceding Friday and Saturday respectively.
Attendees of the Barcelona Grand Prix can choose to buy separate tickets for the practicing, qualifying and main event, or purchase a 3 day pass that is valid for entry into all 3 events. Tickets may be bought on site. However, buying them online is usually more convenient – the crowds that descend on the small town during the Grand Prix can make buying tickets at the venue a hectic endeavour.
For most attendees of the Barcelona Grand Prix, access to the Catalunya Circuit will be via Barcelona city. Trains to the circuit can be boarded at Clot, Passeig de Gracia or Barcelona Sants, all of which are in Barcelona’s city centre. For travellers to the circuit, the 30 minute journey ends when they disembark at the Montmelo station. A one way ticket to Montmelo from Barcelona goes for Euros 1.60.
On arrival at the Montmelo station, visitors can opt to do a 30 minute walk to the circuit. However, this requires walking along some large roads and is not recommended. The preferred alternative is to take a shuttle train that operates between the Catalunya Circuit and the Montmelo station.
The advantage of the shuttle is that it not only operates throughout the day during the race weekend but it is also free for persons that have tickets to the race. In 2010, 47,000 Barcelona Grand Prix spectators used the shuttle service.
The service can get very busy especially on Sunday and race attendees must plan to catch the early shuttle. Other than the train shuttle service, there is a special bus service organised by the Sagales coach company that transfers attendees from downtown Barcelona to the Catalunya Circuit.
The third alternative is to drive oneself to the circuit. With 32,000 parking spaces at the Catalunya Circuit, one is unlikely to miss a parking slot. However, the problem might be getting a parking slot close to one’s sitting area. Since the track is 4 kilometres long, the challenge is getting a parking space that is as close to one’s seating area as possible.
There are more than enough food and drink spots around the edges of the circuit – over 120 in total. Most such spots serve fast food including pizzas and sandwiches. Three course meals are available in 3 locations – one known as the Mediterranean and two called the Gourmet Grille.
Spectators can also order in advance a ‘picnic box’ for a minimum of 20 Euros with the actual cost depending on what one orders. The picnic box will at the minimum have beverages, snacks and meals.
Organisers of the Barcelona Formula 1 Grand Prix recommend that all attendees to the race come with comfortable shoes, sunglasses, a hat, sun cream and of course, ear plugs just in case the roar of engines’ becomes unbearable.