Barcelona circuit responds to Spanish GP anthem criticism

The Barcelona circuit has responded to criticism from the Spanish motorsport federation over the playing of the Catalan anthem during Formula 1's Spanish Grand Prix last weekend

Barcelona circuit responds to Spanish GP anthem criticism

Both the Spanish and the Catalan anthems were played ahead of the start of the race on Sunday, with the Spanish and the Catalan flags also displayed on track during the ceremony.

While both anthems have been played since the first F1 race at the circuit in 1991, the Spanish federation's president Manuel Avino said the body was "surprised" by what it labelled as a change to the usual protocol.

Avino said the decision to play the anthem appeared to send a "political message" during a tense period following the Catalan government's attempt to secede from Spain earlier this year.

Avino said had the federation being informed of the plan, it would have blocked it.

"Obviously, being the Spanish Grand Prix, and since the regulations name the national anthem in singular, this cannot be other than the Spanish anthem - which is the only official Spanish anthem since 1970," Avino said in a statement earlier this week.

"The playing of no other anthem is expected, therefore the presence on track of the Catalan flag, as well as the playing of the Catalan anthem, is out of place in this ceremony.

"This alteration in the protocol has - given the current political circumstances - been understood by the media and by a big number of motorsport fans as a clear use of the sport's communication capacity to launch political messages in a particularly delicate moment for Catalunya and Spain.

"The Spanish federation was not informed that this change of protocol would take place, and it was surprised.

"Had the Spanish federation been consulted about the possibility of altering the protocol, it would have refused its authorisation - always with the utmost respect for the Catalan symbols."

On Thursday, the Barcelona circuit responded to the criticism, insisting both the Spanish and the Catalan anthem have always been played at the circuit, including last year, when Avino was already acting as president of the Spanish federation.

"Since 1991, the year of the first Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, 14 minutes before the start of the race both anthems have been played on the grid," the statement read.

"The protocol to play the anthems has always been the same: first, the Spanish anthem, which is then followed by the Catalan anthem.

"In this opening ceremony, and since the first edition, both flags have also been present: the Spanish and the Catalan one.

"In 2015 a new format was introduced, following a request from Formula 1, with a ceremony of more solemnity, which translated into the presence of the authorities and the drivers heading the grid in front of the flags.

"Mr. Avino witnessed [this new format] for the first time last season in his role as president of the Spanish motorsport federation, with both anthems playing and both flags displayed."

shares
comments
Why Grosjean is F1's unsolvable problem

Previous article

Why Grosjean is F1's unsolvable problem

Next article

Valtteri Bottas keen to avoid one-year Mercedes contract extension

Valtteri Bottas keen to avoid one-year Mercedes contract extension
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Olivier Panis
Author Pablo Elizalde
How F1’s street track return can offer Verstappen redemption Plus

How F1’s street track return can offer Verstappen redemption

Red Bull has failed to capitalise on having the best car in the opening rounds. BEN EDWARDS thinks change is around the corner

The AlphaTauri improvements that mean Gasly’s form is no fluke Plus

The AlphaTauri improvements that mean Gasly’s form is no fluke

Pierre Gasly has driven superbly since demotion from Red Bull in 2019, but the team formerly known as Toro Rosso has come on strong too – building a car that can often challenge Ferrari and McLaren. Here Gasly reveals to ALEX KALINAUCKAS how AlphaTauri has given him the tools needed to rebuild his reputation

Formula 1
May 17, 2021
Why Bottas feels the time has come to be “more selfish” Plus

Why Bottas feels the time has come to be “more selfish”

We’ve seen five distinct versions of Valtteri Bottas at Mercedes as he’s tried to fulfil his own ambitions while being a consummate team player – two difficult, competing missions which have been challenging to reconcile. Speaking exclusively to STUART CODLING, Bottas explains his highs and lows… and why he still believes he can be world champion

Formula 1
May 15, 2021
Does Aston have a case in F1 2021’s big technical row? Plus

Does Aston have a case in F1 2021’s big technical row?

Aston Martin claims Formula 1’s latest technical tweaks have cost it competitiveness – and that it’s the innocent victim of a regulatory stitch-up aimed at pegging back Mercedes. But is any of this actually true? It depends on who you ask, says STUART CODLING

Formula 1
May 14, 2021
How long can F1 2021's brewing title battle stay clean? Plus

How long can F1 2021's brewing title battle stay clean?

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen have been evenly matched so far in the 2021 Formula 1 title race. Neither has been afraid to get aggressive against each other on track, teeing up an enthralling contest as the year unwinds. But is their rivalry destined to end in broken shards of carbon fibre?

Formula 1
May 13, 2021
What the Spain result tells F1 about the next phase of the Mercedes/Red Bull title fight Plus

What the Spain result tells F1 about the next phase of the Mercedes/Red Bull title fight

OPINION: Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes have recovered from their pre-season woes to take three wins from the opening four races of 2021. But each time Red Bull and Max Verstappen have pushed them hard. So, what clues did the latest round of that battle – the Spanish Grand Prix – tease about the next stage of the season?

Formula 1
May 12, 2021
How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner Plus

How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner

The Brabham BT46B raced once, won once, then vanished – or did it? STUART CODLING reveals the story of the car which was never actually banned…

Formula 1
May 11, 2021
The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle Plus

The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle

Formula 1’s visits to Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya over recent years have been met with familiar criticisms despite tweaks here and there to the track to improve racing. With the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix largely going the same way, proper solutions need to be followed to achieve F1’s wider targets

Formula 1
May 10, 2021