The Pedralbes Circuit was a street course in the western suburbs of Barcelona. Used for the Spanish Grand Prix in 1951 and 1954, racing was halted at Pedralbes forever after the 1955 Le Mans disaster.
For political reasons, the organizers of the Penya Rhin race were unable to continue using the Montjiuc Park circuit in the aftermath of the Spanish civil war and World War II. A new circuit was laid out in the southwestern area of Barcelona, in a then semi-rural district of Pedralbes (Old Catalan for "White Stones", a reference to the monastery atop a nearby hill). The race attracted popular support in both 1946 and 1948, but the organizers were often short of money, and seemingly unable to stage the race in consecutive years.
With the advent of the FIA and the new World Championship of Drivers, a longer and more challenging circuit was deemed necessary for inclusion to the series, along with a preference that the track run clockwise, similar to most other venues in Europe. So the track was revised, and the 1950 Penya Rhin race was staged specifically as a non-championship F1 event. The layout was a success, and a Spanish Grand Prix would be a championship event in 1951. The race was not held during the Formula Two years of 1952 and 1953, but returned to the calendar in 1954 along with a Penya Rhin race. In 1955, the organizers were planning both a Grand Prix and a Penya Rhin race, along with other events, but all were canceled after Le Mans. Racing was never held there again.
The original circuit was a simple triangle with some minor kinks thrown in, run in a counter-clockwise direction. The start was on the very wide Avenida del Generalissimo Franco (now the Avinguda Diagonal), opposite the Parc de Pedralbes. The pits were also along this section. The cars only went about 150 meters before making a sharp left onto the Avenida de la Victoria (now Avinguda Pedralbes). They took this somewhat narrow road for almost a kilometer before making a moderately fast double-apex increasing radius left onto a road with the simple name of Carreterra de la Cornella A Fogas De Tordera (now Avinguda D'Esplugues). This basically straight 1.4 km section was the most challenging part of the course, for partway along was a seemingly gentle right-left section with some camber changes that could catch an inattentive driver. The last corner was a sharp left, but leading back onto the Avenida Franco. This straight had a slight left kink after about 100 meters, but that was flat out even in the 1940s. And after almost 1.3 km the drivers were back to the start line.
Anxious to join the fledgling championship, the course was expanded and revised. First, the track direction was reversed. The main straight on Avenida del Generalissimo Franco was lengthened to two km. The corner at the end was now exiting on a narrower road, making it more technical. The Carreterra section was unchanged, but the corner at the end was now a decreasing radius. But the cars went about 2⁄3 of the distance down Avenida de la Victoria, before making a gentle left onto the narrow Paseo de Manuel Girona (now Passeig de Manuel Girona). The cars followed this street for not quite a kilometer, before making a right on Calle de Nurmancia (now Carrer de Numància). This road was followed for about half a kilometer, before rejoining the Avenida Franco.
Most of the circuit still exists, but it would be difficult for someone from that era to recognize it. The urban sprawl of Barcelona has swallowed up the Pedralbes district, and it is now one of the most affluent and expensive parts of the city. The farm roads have given way to tree-lined streets of upscale condominiums. As such, it is harder to retrace the track. The old Spanish names, and in particular any reference to General Franco, have been changed to Catalan names. The corner from Avinguda Diagonal to Avinguda D'Esplugues is now an overpass junction, as both streets are now major commuter routes. A particularly tricky cloverleaf network links the two. The Diagonal also hosts a tram line, other roads have been narrowed, and roundabouts added. The route can be traced, but anything more energetic than bicycling and taking pictures is strictly prohibited.
The following is a list of Formula One World Championship events held at the Pedralbes circuit:
|Year||Event||Winning Driver||Winning Constructor|
|1954||1954 Spanish Grand Prix||Mike Hawthorn||Ferrari|
|1951||1951 Spanish Grand Prix||Juan Manuel Fangio||Alfa Romeo|
The following is a list of non-championship events held at the Pedralbes circuit:
|Year||Event||Winning Driver||Winning Constructor|
|1954||1954 Penya Rhin Grand Prix||François Picard||Ferrari|
|1950||1950 Penya Rhin Grand Prix||Alberto Ascari||Ferrari|
|1948||1948 Penya Rhin Grand Prix||Luigi Villoresi||Maserati|
|1946||1946 Penya Rhin Grand Prix||Giorgio Pelassa||Maserati|
|V T E||Spanish Grand Prix|
|Circuits||Pedralbes (1951, 1954), Jarama (1967-1968, 1970, 1972, 1974, 1976-1981), Montjuïc (1969, 1971, 1973, 1975), Jerez (1986-1990), Catalunya (1991-Present)|
|Races||1951 • 1952–1953 • 1954 • 1955–1967 • 1968 • 1969 • 1970 • 1971 • 1972 • 1973 • 1974 • 1975 • 1976 • 1977 • 1978 • 1979 • 1980 • 1981 • 1982–1987 • 1986 • 1987 • 1988 • 1989 • 1990 • 1991 • 1992 • 1993 • 1994 • 1995 • 1996 • 1997 • 1998 • 1999 • 2000 • 2001 • 2002 • 2003 • 2004 • 2005 • 2006 • 2007 • 2008 • 2009 • 2010 • 2011 • 2012 • 2013 • 2014 • 2015 • 2016 • 2017 • 2018 • 2019|
|Non-Championship Races||1923 • 1924–1925 • 1926 • 1927 • 1928–1929 • 1930 • 1931–1932 • 1933 • 1934 • 1935 • 1936–1966 • 1967 • 1968–1979 • 1980|
|v·d·e||Nominate this page for Featured Article|