Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya closed the year 2020 with an occupancy rate of 57.3%, and a total of 185 days of activity in a year that has been altered as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic. Of this figure, 123 days were allocated to rentals, while there were 62 racing days. Moreover, 31 days were used for works and different maintenance tasks.
In 2019, there were 317 days of activity with an occupancy of 87%. This sports season was however marked by the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the consequent reduction of occupancy days, as well as the cancellation of some of the events on the calendar. During 68 days, from March to May, the track was completely closed.
Breaking down the figures, the first half of the year had an occupancy rate of 46%, with almost full occupancy in January and February. In March, and with the start of the expansion of the virus over the Iberian Peninsula, the occupancy dropped by 50%, while in April and May it was virtually zero due to the global standstill of the sports activity. In June, the Circuit started to resume the track activity.
From July to December, the world championship track reached an occupancy rate of almost 70%, with a clear concentration on the re-programmed sports events. In months like July, August or October, the occupancy exceeded 80%.
Focussing only on races, Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya staged a total of 11 sports meetings in only 6 months, two more if compared with the same period in 2019. This means competition activity on almost half of the weekends of the second half of the year.
This year, Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya was not able to open its gates to the public, in order to ensure safety of all parties involved and with the aim of contributing to reduce the spread of the virus.
The only event with spectator attendance in 2020 was the F1 Pre-Season Testing. The pre-season of the premier class of car racing, which was held in February, included six days of activity and was attended by 45,880 people, a figure that is almost identical to the figure of the previous year (46,767), even though there were less test days.
During the season, Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya applied a strict protocol in order to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection, both during the daily work and during the staging of races.
Actions like controlling the body temperature before accessing the facilities, the compulsory use of masks, hydroalcoholic solutions to be used by all persons accessing common areas and spaces, were added to the intensification of cleaning and disinfection tasks, amongst many other measures, with the aim of minimising the risk of COVID-19 infection.
The whole staff of the Circuit underwent PCR and antigen tests, as well as some of the groups of people that were part of the organisation staff, such as the Officials during the F1 and MotoGP Grands Prix, WorldSBK, Speed Festival, WorldRX, International GT Open and Racing Weekend. A total of 1.400 PCR test and 57 antigen tests were made.
IMPACT IN WRITTEN MEDIA
As regards the media, the Barcelona-based Circuit was again the highlight on thousands of pages of written press in Spain, as the interest of the activities staged at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya has been growing year after year. Activities that go far beyond the racing weekends, and deal with a large variety of activities staged in the sports facilities.
In 2020, the Circuit had an impact in the written press of €7,282,412, according to data provided by Rebold. It is the third highest figure recorded, only exceeded in 2019 (€10,273,978) and 2018 (€8,127,087). Considering that there were almost three months without any kind of activity at the facilities, the rising trend as regards newsworthy content was confirmed.
A total of 1,737 pieces of news were published about topics dealing with the Circuit and its activities.
The Circuit reshapes Turn 10 for 2021
During January, Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya will be reshaping the layout of the current Turn 10, located at the entrance of the legendary Stadium area. This project, which was analysed during the past seasons together with the FIA and the FIM, will improve the safety conditions at both car and motorcycle races.
Traditionally, Formula 1 used the inner variant of Turn 10 and 11, while MotoGP used the historic layout. However, a few years ago, the FIM decided to use the same layout as the car races.
For the 2021 season, and in agreement with the FIA and the FIM, Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya has designed a new and unique variant for Turn 10, that will be located between the two current layouts. This change will allow for an extension of the run-off area at the turn, thus increasing the safety distance, and it will also lead to a return to the origins of the layout.
The Calendar for the 2021 season
After an atypical season, Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya faces the 2021 season with a calendar made up of 16 events, including four World Championships: F1*, MotoGP, Rallycross and WorldSBK. It is a worldwide unique milestone, that continues to place the Circuit among the global benchmark racetracks.
There will also be internationally prestigious events, such as the European Le Mans Series, the Speed Festival, the International GT Open or the FIM CEV Repsol. As regards national competition, there will be the legendary ESBK and the Racing Weekend, which includes the CER and F4, as well as the Catalan Car Racing Championships and the Catalan Motorcycle Racing Championships. As regards modalities, there will be again a rally event with the second RallySprint RACC-Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
The own-branded endurance events will continue adding years to their history, with another edition of the 24 Horas de Motociclismo de Catalunya and the 24 Horas de Automovilismo-Trofeo Fermí Vélez, with a growing international projection. Moreover, the 24H BiCircuit will continue for another season with the cycling races.
In 2021 we will also be commemorating a very special date for Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. On 10 September, the Circuit will be celebrating its 30th anniversary.
*Subject to the renewal of the agreement