Barcelona was never anyone's favourite, I don't think. I certainly didn't enjoy the racing, with the track being a bit awkward for the latest generation of F1 cars. The straight was not long enough, the corners were difficult to follow around and generally the racing was not super close. But, I'd rather that to whatever the FIA has cooked up for us in 2026 in Madrid.

The new 5km circuit in the Spanish capital is said to be more sustainable, with 90% of fans coming to the circuit via sustainable travel. My question is, why not just make Catalunya more sustainable instead? Yes, it's a bit further out, but so is Zandvoort, and 98% of spectators travelled to that race using clean energy.

Anyway, here are five tracks that I'd rather see return to the calendar instead of this Madrid monstrosity.

Hockenheim, Germany

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(Photo by Andrea Diodato/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
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Apart from Great Britain, I'd argue Germany has some of the richest history in F1 and it's truly tragic that it hasn't hosted a race since 2019. Hockenheim has held races since 1932 and F1 specifically since 1976. Its wide straights and fast corners give it flow when watching F1 cars qualify and the profile of the corners allows for brilliant battles (see this DTM battle for example).

Most of us also remember the chaotic German GP in 2019 when we saw Sebastian Vettel crash out of his home race and Mercedes' memorable pitstop shambles. It was truly a race that had everything.

The pandemic and a lack of financial backing has curtailed into Germany being shelved for now. It's a shame for a country with so much racing history to be put aside for races in countries with only money and no relationship to the sport.

Sepang, Malaysia

(Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
(Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

I mean, come on. Watching drivers fight the fast turns at Sepang is just mesmerising. The first corner, similar to Shanghai, is tricky to get right but is an amazing spectacle in modern F1 cars with the amount of trail braking required halfway through the corner. It's a true test of the high-speed engineering that makes F1.

The track hosted races every year from 1999-2017 with some memorable moments to solidify its place, like Kimi Raikkonen's maiden win, Multi-21 at Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel having to be taxied back to the pits after a bizarre incident with Lance Stroll. 

Apparently the sport is not as popular as others in Malaysia, so the track's rising costs paired with low sales stopped it from hosting any more races in the future, though MotoGP and other smaller Formulas have been rising in popularity at the track, so there may be a chance. And now, Petronas has been rumoured to be bringing the track back to the calendar. Please!

Kyalami, South Africa

(Photo by Duif du Toit/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
(Photo by Duif du Toit/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem was recently quoted saying that the sport should focus on Africa as its next big push . The record-breaking 24 race calendar has every continent involved apart from Africa, so it would only be right to bring to it to this historic circuit just outside of Johannesburg.

F1 was close to signing a deal to bring Africa back to the calendar this year, but monetary issues and political conversations stopped that from happening. It was apparently going to take Spa's place too, but I think that would cause outrage.

The track is fast, flowing and has a good mix of corners to test out the latest F1 machinery. GT races like the Kyalami 9 hour race have been held since F1's departure in 1993, with the World Endurance Championship almost hosting a race there before the pandemic hit. Shame.

Buddh, India

(Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
(Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Only three races have been held in the most populous country in the world (2011-2013), all of them being won by Sebastian Vettel at Red Bull. This iconic track is memorable for its turn 10-11 right hander and has been host to some great races in the MotoGP championship, just going to show that it's ready for another international racing series to come back.

Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button have both praised this circuit for its ability to be difficult to drive consistently and feeling like a rollercoaster, similar to Spa-Francochamps. These characteristics might even work better with the new ground effect cars.

The race was cancelled for 2014 mostly due to tax infringements with the organisers, so hopefully the new F1 owners can find a way around this. It also boosted the economy with almost 10,000 jobs going to local people.

Istanbul Park, Turkey

(Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
(Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Returning in 2020 and 2021 after a long hiatus, the Turkish Istanbul Park Track was an instant hit for modern F1 fans. Elevation changes are a strong characteristic of the track, with turn 8's downwards slope being one of the great modern corners of Hermann Tilke.

Turkey held an F1 race from 2005 to 2011, but was ultimately cancelled due to poor ticket sales. Then, after the pandemic reshuffled the calendar, Istanbul Park was added back in 2020. The race was won by Lewis Hamilton, who went on to claim his seventh world title at the same race. Many people also remember Lance Stroll snatching pole in a wet qualifying session.

Hopefully we will see more of an appetite for F1 in Turkey with more promotion from Liberty Media and the new global interest in hosting F1 races. Less America, more Turkey please.

Conclusion

As I said, I didn't enjoy Barcelona. Even though it's a track with plenty of history, the racing wads a bit bland and there aren't many memorable moments in the modern era. What I don't like more is what this new track represents: the reliance on street circuits.

Now, you may call me a traditionalist, but I'd much rather see the world's fastest racing cars race on circuits, not slow and uneven city centres. People hate on Monaco for being too slow and boring, but there's an actual spectacle to be watched there and history to be reminiscent of. There's none of that in this new Madrid circuit.