What’s next: the Mexican Grand Prix

Mexico City – 30th October

After many aborted attempts and a 23-year gap between Grands Prix, Formula One returned to Mexico last year, and the race weekend at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez was heralded as a triumph on and off the circuit. 

The course is named after the revered Rodriguez brothers, Ricardo and Pedro, who both sadly lost their lives on tracks.  It was the Ricardo’s emergence in 1961, driving for Ferrari aged just 19, which provided the spark, prompting the decision to build the track in the Magdalena Mixhuca Park just to the east of Mexico City. Pedro’s success later in the decade helped build the fervent home support which was reinvigorated in 2015.

Improvements to the once notoriously bumpy track were made possible with after an injection of private and governmental funds. The five-year deal between the local authorities, Formula One Management, and event promoters Corporacion Interamericana de Entretenimiento (CIE), will see Formula One racing continue in Mexico until at least 2018.

Like most of the new or returning Grand Prix venues Mexico had an impressive three-day crowd – a sell-out 330,000 people attended last year – but Mexico hopes not to emulate others in dropping numbers after the initial novelty wears off. Chief executive of CIE Alejandro Soberon said his Mexico City venue is already looking at erecting additional grandstands and planning for an increased 2016 crowd. “We're really going to shoot for 360,000 people next year,” Soberon told Autosport after the 2015 race.”We're going to try to find additional capacity, with the Esses an area where we are thinking we could put some people.”

“Given the word of mouth, and the level of interest we received from the people who are willing to buy a ticket for next year, we think the second year is going to be more successful than the first, and I know that rarely happens in Formula One,”Soberon added.

135,000 people turned out on race day to see the Nico Rosberg-piloted Mercedes win the first Mexican Grand Prix of the 21st century in an uncompromising manner.

The numbers in the stands were matched by those in the hospitality area, and, according to Nigel Geach, the local corporate market has responded well to the new event. “It’s interesting that they are virtually sold out of hospitality for Mexico,” Geach says, before adding that Mexico should be seen as a pillar of excellence. “It shows that if you get the right facilities with a mix of old fashioned and modern you can do it. I don’t think everybody thought it was going to take away from COTA, but a lot did. But it didn’t seem to – it is a different market.”

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