For years, the popularity of Formula One in Spain paled in comparison to that of MotoGP. With no Spanish driver or team at the sharp end of the field, the locals preferred bikes to their auto racing.
Only when Fernando Alonso arrived at Renault in 2003 did all that change, and while we eagerly await the 130,000 sellout at this weekend's race, let's not forget everything that has happened since the first Grand Prix was held on Spanish soil, way back in 1913.
Alberto Ascari (Ferrari 375F1) leads at the start of the 1951 Spanish Grand Prix, Pedralbes © LAT
Twelve of the previous 47 events have been non-championship affairs, and the Spanish GP has bounced in and out of the schedule throughout its existence. It first appeared on the F1 calendar in 1951. It was three years before it returned, after which there was another 13 years before another race was held, and even then it was non-championship.
After being an ever-present in the 1970s, political wrangling within the sport meant the 1980 event disappeared from the schedule, and after one more race at Jarama in 1981, another five years elapsed before Jerez emerged as the new venue.