The Formula 1 Grand Prix returns to Mexico City after an absence of more than two decades. The Hermanos Rodríguez racetrack will dress up for this year’s grand party, from October 30th to November 1st.
Last July, Formula One Management CEO Bernie Ecclestone announced that the Grand Prix would return to Mexico City at the right moment for Formula 1, the city and especially for racecar fans.
Formula 1 had been held regularly in Mexico from 1962 to 1970, and from 1986 to 1992, so the expectation remained of hosting the ultimate race on the Mexican circuit that would undoubtedly attract new generations of fans.
The Corporación Interamericana de Entretenimiento (CIE) signed a five-year contract for holding this event in the nation’s capital, which will entail an important economic benefit, both in tourism and in advertising and services, and consequently it will also translate into thousands of new jobs.
In 1962, motorsport’s elite category ignited engines for the first time in the five-kilometer “Aztec Speedway” built especially for this race at the Magdalena Mixhuca racetrack, as it was formerly called, which was won by the British driver Jim Clark of the Lotus-Climax team.
From 1973 onwards the racetrack was renamed Hermanos Rodríguez as a tribute to the legendary Mexican drivers, brothers Pedro and Ricardo Rodríguez, who achieved great victories on international racetracks in the sixties.
In addition to the unforgettable Rodríguez brothers, several outstanding Mexican drivers have participated in Formula 1 history, such as Moisés Solana and Héctor Alonso Rebaque, and more recently Sergio “Checo” Pérez and Esteban Gutiérrez, who will have the opportunity to perform in the maximum category for the first time in Mexico.
This will be a main attraction for the competition, because the onset of Pérez on the international circuit has renewed enthusiasm for high-level racing in Mexico. Following his departure from McLaren, Checo joined the Force India team, and has said that the return of F1 to Mexico is a sign that we can achieve anything. “It is a great opportunity to show the world what our country can do,” he said.
A profitable investment
According to a study based on the days of participation and the number of races, the Formula 1 Grand Prix is the top billing sports event, thanks to revenues from circuit, television, advertising, equipment and public fees.
In 2014 Mexico City failed to comply with all the requirements of the International Automobile Federation to host the “Grand Circus” (so called because of its similarities to the ancient tradition of the Roman Circus, and because in the beginning, all F1 participants and equipment paraded around the circuits before the races, as it was customary in circuses). This year it will be possible thanks to a major joint venture between the public and private sectors, estimated at 360 million dollars, of which the government will provide 210 million and CIE the remaining 150 million.
In a report prepared for the Mexican Stock Market (BMV), CIE states “as part of the total investment, the company plans to disburse an approximate amount of 50 million dollars over the next 12 months to modify and adjust the Hermanos Rodríguez race track.” Security is a priority issue for the organizers, and therefore part of the circuit had to be retraced and modified in certain sections.
The Ministry of Tourism (Sectur) expects that the Formula 1 Grand Prix will generate an economic impact of 2 billion dollars and 18,000 direct and indirect jobs in the service and tourism sectors in Mexico City during the five editions of the competition that will be held here.
Francisco Maass Peña, Undersecretary for Quality and Regulations of Sectur, says the Grand Prix represents a major boost to tourism and the development of the country, as it consolidates the two main sector strategies: to increase foreign currency earnings, as well as the flow of visitors. Only during the week of the competition, revenues of 190 million dollars are expected, plus 45 million dollars in hotels, restaurants and shopping.
So once again the remodeled Hermanos Rodríguez racetrack is getting ready for the roar of the fastest engines in the world.