Mexico Makes Calender Return

It has been a project in the pipeline for a while, but speculation in regards to the return of the Mexican Grand Prix will now close, as Bernie Ecclestone announced yesterday that the nation’s capital will host a race in 2015. The Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez has been absent from the calender for 23 years, yet is a real driver’s circuit which has many challenges. Does this announcement show the new direction of Formula One is to return to the popular ‘old-school’ venues, following the return of the Austrian Grand Prix this season and now, the addition of Mexico for 2015?

‘Old-School’ Venue

23 years is a long time in any sport, but especially in the ever-changing world of Formula One. At the last Mexican Grand Prix in 1992, Nigel Mansell snatched victory in his Williams FW14B – a dominant car at the heart of the active suspension debate. Back then, circuits were far more challenging and unforgiving, lacking the expansive tarmac run-offs which are a cornerstone of circuit safety in the modern era. Unquestionably, the circuit will undergo some safety alterations and the modern amenities of pit garages and state-of-the-art grandstands will have to be established in he next year. As for the layout of the circuit, very little needs changing.
A quick glance at a track map immediately highlights the challenges that the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez beholds – a long pit straight is coupled with a tight and technical sector two, followed by an awe-inspiring last corner which should test drivers to their limits. Even the talents of Ayrton Senna were not enough to keep his McLaren within the bounds of the circuit at this infamous Turn 14 in 1991, during a practice session. This is perhaps one area of the circuit which will have to be sanitised, but lets hope that the corner maintains its challenging nature, while keeping driver safety as the main priority. 

Good Timing

In business terms, this is perhaps the perfect time for the Mexican Grand Prix to make a return to the calender. Fan interest can be generated by the fact that they currently have two drivers in the sport, with both Esteban Gutierrez and Sergio Perez applying their trade at the pinnacle of motorsport. Meanwhile, the current popularity of the US Grand Prix with Mexican fans suggests that turnout in Mexico City will be strong. After all, ticket sales are key to a Grand Prix’s success – just ask the organisers of the Turkish and Korean Grand Prix’s.
The Mexican Grand Prix and the US Grand Prix fit together perfectly and will likely form back to back races, as this will be far cheaper for the teams and easier on logistics departments. Consequently, the race will likely take a slot which is towards the end of the season and could be the scene of a key moment in the title race, should circumstances arise. Putting Mexico on the sporting map is key and clearly, the government are keen to reach this objective in the near future.      

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