General News

Rev up the engines! F1 racing returns to Mexico

Around 360 million dollars from public and private funds will be splashed to bring Formula One racing back to Mexico for the first time in 23 years.

The world’s most successful motor sport brand will return to Mexico City’s Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in 2015, F1 Commercial Director Bernie Ecclestone announced last week.

Grupo CIE has signed a five-year contract to host the race, which will probably take place in October, prior to the U.S. Grand Prix to be held in Austin, Texas.

Mexico last hosted a grand prix in 1992, when Britain’s Nigel Mansell won in a Williams-Renault.

Details of how much CIE, a live events hosting company, will pay F1 for the right to host the races has not been revealed, but is expected to run to around 60 million dollars annually.  

Mexico’s Tourism Ministry is expected to channel around 40 million dollars a year into the race, which will draw around 200,000 spectators over the three-day event and provide the country with a huge international promotional opportunity.   Sources say the expected income from the annual race could reach 200 million pesos.

Some 50 million dollars will be earmarked for improvements to a race track that was criticized in the past for being notoriously bumpy.  The pit lane and paddock areas will be revamp and much of the spectator seating upgraded.

The presence of Force India’s Sergio “Checo” Perez, the Guadalajara-born driver now in his fourth season in Formula One, should guarantee a large, partisan crowd.  This week Perez called the confirmation of the race “a dream come true “that will turn the world’s eyes toward Mexico.”

It is still unclear if a second Mexican driver, Sauber’s Esteban Gutierrez, will still be in Formula One next year but his main backer, telecom billionaire Carlos Slim is likely to want him in the Mexico City race.  Although his company Telmex will not have direct participation in the organization of the race,

Slim is recognized as having played an important role behind the scenes in bringing F1 back to Mexico.  Until recently, Slim also bankrolled the career of Perez.