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Perez and Gutierrez hail Mexico’s return to the F1 calendar
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Posted By: Justin Hynes  |  24 Jul 2014   |  10:58 pm GMT  |  28 comments

Following the announcement that Mexico City will in 2015 host a Formula One Grand Prix for first time since 1992, the news of the race’s return was today greeted with enthusiasm in the Hungaroring paddock.

“It’s great, I’m so happy,” said Force India’s Mexican racer Sergio Perez of the new, which will see F1 return to the Hermanos Rodriguez circuit for the first time since Nigel Mansell won for Williams in the second race of the 1992 season.

“Since I left my home at 13, 14 years I never raced in Mexico. I never raced in my home country,” added Perez. “Now to go back after so many years and race actually in Formula One is great.

“They’ve been really pushing for so many years, since I came to Formula One four years ago,” said Perez, who hails from the city of Guadalajara. “The spirit of the fans is massive back home. It’s great for my country, for all the fans back home and I’m sure you all will be surprised at how good the event will be. I’m just very proud and excited. It’s great that we can confirm that we will have a Mexican GP next year.”

Countryman Esteban Gutierrez, who hails from the northern Mexican city of Monterrey, which hosted a round of the US CART championship from 2001 to 2006, added that the news is a “dream come true” for Mexicans.

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 22.52.19

“I have good feelings about it, because [after] all these years that Mexico has been involved in Formula One, with obviously first Checo getting to Formula One and now myself, this is a great step to have a grand prix. It’s really a dream come true for many of us,” he said. “I had the chance to race once in Mexico City, back in 2008, when we did the world finals of Formula BMW. It was a great experience. I think it was an introduction to what it can be, [though] obviously very, very small by comparison.”

Mexico’s return to the F1 calendar has been touted several times in the past. In 2003, a race was proposed for a purpose-built circuit, to be called Mantarraya, close to the tourist city of Cancun in the state of Quintana Roo in the east of the country. The race got as far as the drawing board, with Hermann Tilke having drawn up plans, but land disputes eventually scuppered plans for the $80-million track and its proposed slot in 2006.

The trail went quiet until last year when a new race was proposed for the Hermanos Rodgriguez circuit last year, with the event being included on a provisional 2014 calendar.

Formula One Race Director Charlie Whiting visited the track last September, in the company of former Circuit of the Americas organiser Tavo Hellmund, representatives from Tilke’s organisation and by FIA Vice President and Mexico native José Abed.

However, the event dropped off the schedule when the final calendar was revealed at the December 2013 meeting of the World Motor Sport Council in Paris.

Work has continued behind the scenes, however, and at a press conference in Mexico City yesterday, Alejandro Soberon the CEO of live events company CIE, confirmed that a deal is now in place to stage the race at a revamped Hermando Rodriguez circuit.

“It is a fact,” Soberon told a press conference at the City’s Banamex Centre. “Start your engines, F1 will return to Mexico next year. This is Mexico’s time.”

The question now is what shape the track will take as it is redeveloped and also when it might slot into the F1 calendar.

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 20.34.37In its glory years the circuit’s signature corner was the Peraltada, a banked 180-degree right-hander, but this is likely to be too dangerous more modern F1. Indeed a video (link below) shown at the launch appears to show that the famed corner will now be cut by a right-hander and a hairpin before rejoining midway through top of the long corner.

Mexico Returns to Formula One

“It will be totally different,” he said. “I was so unlucky not to be in a Formula One race back in Mexico but I think it will be quite different. There are a lot of things to be changed. The circuit is quite old. I mean, the last time you raced there was 22 years ago. They already started to build a new circuit. It will be fantastic once again; you are all going to be surprised. I’m sure it will become a very popular grand very soon.”

The obvious slot for the race is as a back-to-back with the US Grand Prix at Austin, though that might not find favour with organisers of the Texas race who each year benefit considerably from an influx of Mexican fans currently unable to see F1 in their home country. A late-calendar date would also give the organisers of the Mexico City race enough time to remodel the Hermanos Rodriguez.

 

 

 

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28 Comments
  1. BMG says:

    That’s fantastic, what circuit and city will loose out?

  2. ferggsa says:

    Well, I might see an F1 race live after 22 years, I was planning on Austin probably next year but this is just 5 tube stops away from home
    It was big news here with full support from Mexico City and Federal Government officials, so it is not just some brave private promoters involved

    The track layout will not be changed much from the last Cart(Indy) races some years ago, so it might still be a car track rather than a driver one (2 williams, 2 Macas, 2 Ferraris in the old days)
    It has a very long straight, a “stadium” section, a flowing esses part, and will have a new “street” like corners to cut the old “peraltada”(banked) final bend

    Hope Renault and Ferrari improve their PUs or it might be a Merc runaway, elevation (2,240 m above sea level) really affects engines, but I guess turbos should do better than aspirated ones
    Aero is also affected I guess and the usual setups might not work the same

    Hope some of you guys make it down here, but buy early because it is usually packed full

  3. Pkara says:

    Sounds great .
    Will be a very hot circuit & a popular event with the people of Mexico.
    Lets hope the Mexican Gangs & Drug Cartels leave the circuit in peace.
    Maybe knock Russia off the calendar for good
    & get the French Grand Prix beck on calender too.
    Annex Russia from all global sports for the Civil Aircraft travesty.
    Let Putin know he cant use people like chess pieces in his empire building ‘global domination game’.

    1. Gaz Boy says:

      Unfortunately, and I say this with regret, lets face it Mr E believes in the primacy of money, not the primacy of sensible foreign policy if his recent statements of there will be definitely be a grand prix in Russia in October are to be believe
      I bet in the Hungaroring paddock right now this issue is the main topic of the weekend. Let’s wait and see.

      1. D1M0NST3R says:

        I dont know what you all think, perhaps I do, but I just cant understand it… you are being manipulated by the world police (US gov), almost all latin america supports Russia for 1 reason… we are sick and tired of getting our treasures taken by the US gov…

        and… theres absolutely no reason to mix sports with politics, thats why the Russian GP should continue.

    2. RacingFanatic says:

      Dude.. seriously… chill…out about RUSSIA!!! Who cares about the politics, as long as it’s safe to race there it should go on. I want more racing and excitement, not politically correct do-gooders going around cancelling races because they don’t like the country its being held in. I’m sure many will agree with me, that more racing = good! Besides the Russian GP actually looked like quite an interesting one. Not all Russians are out to shoot planes down man.

  4. Matthew says:

    And a considerable slice of the revenue will go to the cartels; its how things work in Mexico with their “protection money”. Welcome to Formula One, now supporting the drug trade.

    1. Ben says:

      Not too different to how F1 is run with all the ‘protection money’ that is paid to Ferrari

    2. RacingFanatic says:

      Welcome to the world man, not just Mexcio. Relax and enjoy the future race :)

  5. Kristiane says:

    Yay, new track.

    That’s about the only upside of it.

    Downsides:
    1. Still F1 tickets are mighty expensive, and I’ve always wanted to attend an F1 Grand Prix but prices are the biggest hurdles!
    2. Hope no current F1 races (such as Silverstone, Monza) are going to be axed in favour of Mexico
    3. Trucks still look prettier than current F1 cars

    Why can’t FiA do something about the current state of F1 than simply to keep expanding expanding and expanding? Of recent expansions like Turkey, India, S. Korea, they haven’t produced anything exception, rather they have been just about or below average.

    What they should do is focus on improving their current races first, improve the cars’ aesthetics, engine sound, and audience attendance first before any expansion. Too much expansion before your current product is well done is bound to fail. I am no businessmen but isn’t this business common sense?

    1. RacingFanatic says:

      Trucks still sound better too :P

      One more point I would add to your list

      4. Why could they not have left the one iconic, amazing corner on the track rather than turning it into another one of the vast amount (we have way too many of these) of modern tracks with no character. Also, NO MORE TILKEDROMES FIA!! PLEASEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE *said in Jeremy Clarksons’ funny voice*

      1. Kristiane Cyrus says:

        LOL…

        Maybe Jeremy might fancy the idea of running for the FiA Presidency. :P Some of his ideas might be quite explosively fun.
        *just kidding*

  6. RobertS says:

    I wish they would keep the great corners from tracks from the past! The cars are so much safer, the medical facilities are a lot better so why remove these great corners?

  7. forzaminardi says:

    The old Hermanos Rodriguez track was one of my favorites. Back in the day the trip to Mexico heralded a series of ‘power’ tracks with Mexico followed by Montreal, Paul Ricard, ‘old’ (not THAT old) Silverstone and ‘old’ Hockenheim. So an evocative track (although the new baseball ground section is laughable) in an evocative location. Hopefully the moans and groans about drug cartels, foreigners being effectively barricaded in hotels and corruption are simply prejudice.

    On the topic of Mexico in F1, James, how is Gutierrez regarded in the paddock? Perez seems to have rehabilitated his reputation as an effective if inconsistent driver, but Gutierrez seems a bit of an enigma especially as a few years ago it was he who was regarded as the better prospect. Does he have ability that so far his Sauber has not let him show?

    1. James Allen says:

      He’s been given a chance, even if he’s not had the best of cars. Unlucky timing just after Perez got those podiums in 2012.

    2. ferggsa says:

      Mexico City is still a fairly nice place to visit, good restaurants, museums, architecture, shopping, etc
      Of course you have to be careful, but no more so than Sao Paulo or New York or any other big city

      By the way, weather in November is not “hot”, maybe around 15 to 28 degrees C, so a lot cooler than Hungary and the South Asian tracks

      Regarding GUT, I think he was a better prospect than PER in the junior formulas, but somehow lost his touch when he arrived in F1
      I think the car does not help, nor following in PER’s footsteps in the team

      I perceive him as being smarter (needs time to learn, tough) but less aggressive, which is what makes PER exciting but inconsistent
      Still, PER has more or less put up a fight against KOB, BUT and HUL, which are respected names, while GUT has a hard time catching SUT

      A better car would improve GUT’s performance, in terms of confidence and not having to fight for scraps against tail enders while looking at the mirrors to avoid the lapping MBs and RBs, but it will be hard to get a better drive if there are no results

  8. GRLap says:

    I wonder if the fans will be able to knock down the fences and sit on the edge of the circuit, with their feet literally on the edge of the asphalt, like they did in 1970?

    Better Mexico than Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Russian, or any of these other races in the “Fascist Grand Prix World Championship”.

    It is a disgrace that FOM has constructed a “business model” where France is unable to host a GP, given their history. Matra, Ligier, Beltoise, Jabouille, Jarrier, Prost – ridiculous.
    And next to go will be Monza, Spa and Nurburgring/Hockenheim, to make room for Kazakhstan, among others.
    I have been watching since 1969 (I was eight), but I am just about finished. I am going to Monza this year but already feel as though I probably wasted good money.

    1. Average Lee says:

      Agree totally with your remarks.

      The grand old circuits will be unceremoniously dumped and replaced with street circuits in the middle-east.

  9. Anil says:

    I don’t mind the look of the track but it doesn’t look anywhere near as good as the old track..The hairpin in the stadium just seems unnecessary as the corner before it is too slow to allow the hairpin to become a real overtaking zone. They’ve also chopped off some of the esses and tightened every other corner in S1 and 2.

    That said. I’m really looking forward to it. I’m glad to see F1 returning to tracks with great history and not these mickey mouse tracks that no one turns up to (apart from Turkey, that was fantastic). Now if Red Bull just return the Red Bull ring to its former glory I’ll be happy.

  10. Luke Dalton says:

    Great to see more “classic” returning to F1! Superb!

  11. Gaz Boy says:

    Great news. Mexico has a great pedigree in motor racing, going back to the days of the late Pedro Rodgriguez and his exploits in both F1 and sports car racing with Porsche.
    Considering Latin America is one of motor sports heartlands, along with Europe, Japan and the English speaking Anglosphere countries, it is surprising that there aren’t more F1 races in the New World. With Mexico coming back, that will cater for Central America. Perhaps Buenos Aires could make a return to cater for spectators in the southern belt of South America. Or what about a race on the West/Pacific Coast of the New World, say Santiago in Chile? The Paris-Dakar rally is held in the Atacama Desert, so Chile does have a good motor sport pedigree.
    Anyway, good to see an extra race in the New World of Latin America – an important heartland for motor racing.

    1. puffing says:

      Mexico is not Central America. It is truly North America.

  12. Craig says:

    I’m SO disappointed that they’re neutering the Peraltada corner. Formula One needs corners that are visibly challenging otherwise fans will switch off their television sets.

    In the 1980s and early 1990s, I remember being enthralled by the races that were held on this Mexican circuit. It was a track that sorted the men from the boys, especially because of the high-speed, oval-like, Peraltada sweep at the end of the lap.

    I urge anyone who wasn’t around at the time, or can’t remember the Mexican Grand Prix of 1990, to click on the link below to see six minutes of race highlights that I have come across on YouTube. The track in general and the Peraltada corner in particular are majestic.

    Without the Peraltada, we would never have witnessed Nigel Mansell’s (Ferrari) heart-in-the-mouth overtaking manoevre on Gerhard Berger (McLaren) which was inspirational. If proof were needed that Nigel would go on to do well in oval-racing, this was it.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UqaXktfn90M

    Is the Peraltada really too dangerous for modern F1? I just don’t think it is. Surely it is no more dangerous than Eau Rouge in Belgium.

    Could the run-off area not be extended? Or another solution found that would preserve the layout of the original circuit? In any case, the cars are safer than ever they were.

    I really think this Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez circuit is a giant of a track with a layout and history that is ‘up there’ with the blue-riband circuits of Monza and Spa and, as such, needs to be respected and left well alone.

    Why does every decent track have to have the passion wrung out of it and be turned into a ‘facility’? I don’t care if the new pit complex will be state-of-the-art; just give me, the television-viewing fan, something to feel genuinely excited about.

    1. ferggsa says:

      @Craig

      Unfortunately as you mention there is no run off area behind the peraltada, it is meters away from a concrete wall and the street, and the original layout (still used in Nascar and local races) is in the middle of two fast straights, just like the parabolica in Monza, which does have a huge run off area
      IMHO it would be too dangerous at present speeds

      On the commercial side, the infield has permanent grandstands used for concerts and baseball games, so bringing the “street section” in between the grandstands saves money and adds revenue, making it easier for organizers to meet Bernie’s fees

      I guess with new stands, attendance should be well over 100,000 so maybe they should ask for triple points

      1. DTM says:

        Well said, Ben, couldn’t agree more. Also so disappointed that they are not looking to keep the original layout . I think the powers at be just assume that if a circuit is old it must be dangerous without actually thinking it through. No wonder things like DRS are needed when the new tracks are so stifling!

        Thanks for the clip. Such an audacious and brave move by Mansell.

  13. DTM says:

    Good to see an old track being brought back but real shame they are heavily neutering the track, especially the Peraltada section, but I don’t find it surprising if you look at recent tracks. I think its overkill as F1 cars are built safer than before. Perhaps F1 cars are too fast now… or we don’t want exiting tracks anymore.

  14. Kieran Donnelly says:

    Pity about the proposed changes to the final banked corner. Just like Barcelona, they are killing the essence of the track. Makes it a bit boring – that Mansell move in 1990 was ballsy in the extreme – thanks to Craig for digging it up

  15. Craig says:

    Bearing in mind the huge sum of money being invested to renovate the circuit to current Formula One standards, could they not demolish the baseball stadium and re-build the Peraltada corner some 50 metres or so in advance of where it is located now? That would release sufficient space to create a large enough run-off area, sacrificing only 50 metres of the already-long main straight and the back straight.

    The baseball stadium, constructed after Formula One’s last visit to the circuit in 1992, is an afterthought – a red herring – and needs to be treated as such. It was tacked on to this wonderful circuit to plug the shortfall in revenues in the aftermath of the loss of Grand Prix racing in the 1990s. Why not build another one elsewhere? Or dismantle it and move it further back into the infield of the circuit where several tired-looking football pitches are currently taking up a lot of space?

    Preserving the baseball stadium, together with an obsession with track safety that does not take into consideration the advances in car safety and neck-restraint systems of recent years, are being used as reasons to re-configure the track. The ‘reason’ of track safety might possibly stand up to scrutiny but preserving the baseball stadium most certainly doesn’t.

    If more grandstands need to be built to bolster spectator numbers and revenues, build them beside the existing track rather than creating another tedious series of slow twists and turns through the baseball stadium and wrecking the signature corner of the track, for crying out loud!

    Track safety may be non-negotiable but one thing for sure is that that carbuncle of a baseball stadium isn’t! In the interests of preserving something of the passion and spectacle of our sport, it needs to be demolished or moved somewhere else.

    James – Please would you be good enough to forward my plea to someone ‘in charge’ who might be in a position to influence the re-configuration plans?

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