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Mexican Grand Prix: F1 resurrection reveals the real Mexico

Author : neurosuture1925
Publish Date : 2021-04-06 15:48:49
Mexican Grand Prix: F1 resurrection reveals the real Mexico

World champions Jim Clark, Nigel Mansell, Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost counted themselves winners of the North American sizzler at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.

A new chapter is about to be written in 2015, and a new champion crowned, as the top tier of motorsport returns to Mexico after a 23-year hiatus.

What will F1 fans find at the November 1 race? From high altitudes and homegrown heroes, CNN's The Circuit will steer you through all the action to be found on and off the track.



The Mexican Grand Prix has been part of the Formula One World Championship just 15 times since 1963. Its F1 history is short, but very sweet.

'It's a stunning place,' Britain's Nigel Mansell, who won the last staging in 1992, told CNN. 'You have to adapt your driving style at the circuit because there's 20% less aerodynamic grip there. Winning there twice, and in front of the Mexican fans, was just so dynamic!'

Mexico was dropped from F1's world tour in 1970, returning in 1986 before disappearing again six years later. Its resurrection in 2015 is as hotly anticipated by the F1 community as a Mexican chilli.

'Mexico is hugely important to F1 because it has a terrific history,' motor racing journalist Maurice Hamilton told CNN. 'It goes right back to the 1960s.

'There's also a huge passion there. In 1970 when they tried to run the grand prix, the crowds went on to the edge of the track.

'We go to some places and there's no tradition, no history, it's soulless and people don't turn up -- that's not the case in Mexico.'


The Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez is named after brothers Ricardo and Pedro Rodriguez, who were both killed in motor racing accidents: Ricardo in 1962, aged 20; Pedro died nine years later at the age of 31.

They are idols of Mexican motorsport and Pedro remains the only driver from his country to win a Formula One grand prix, taking the checkered flag in South Africa in 1967 and Belgium in 1970.

There may be a sense of sentiment and history about the circuit, which sits in the public Magdalena Mixhuca Park to the east of Mexico City, but it has had a major facelift for the return of F1.

As well as new pit and paddock buildings and grandstands, it's estimated that 50% of the track layout has also been tweaked with the famous high-speed, banked Peraltada corner ditched in favor of a new Turn 12.

At the 1990 Mexican GP, Mansell famously went round Gerhard Berger's McLaren at Peraltada to steal second place for Ferrari on the last lap, while Senna had two accidents on the tricky curve.

Fanatics may rue the corner's demise but there is a surprising F1 first to look forward to -- the new section of track will take a diversion through the Foro Sol baseball stadium, home to the Diablos Rojos del Mexico (Mexico City Red Devils).

'Fans will have an amazing vantage point from the stands of the baseball stadium,' CNN sports anchor Amanda Davies says of the new section.

It is also worth watching out for some slippery action during Friday practice as, just like the new circuits in Sochi and Austin, the Mexican asphalt is expected to lack grip before it 'rubbers in' over the race weekend.


Get ready for a mega Mexican wave for homegrown racer Sergio Perez.

The Force India driver becomes the first Mexican to race at a home grand prix for 45 years, and his podium finish at the Russian GP three weeks ago made the front page of national newspapers.

'It's more than 15 years since I've raced in my home country with my fans, my people and my family,' Perez told CNN.

'It will be very special to come back after so many years. To have a Mexican Grand Prix makes me very proud.'

Perez, who goes by the nickname 'Checo,' is not yet as famous as Mexico's football and baseball stars but his handsome face is used to advertise telecoms companies Telmex and Telcel on billboards and televisions nationwide.

The 25-year-old comes from Guadalajara, 340 miles northwest of Mexico City. Famous as the birthplace of the 'Mexican Hat Dance,' it is near the city of Tequila which gave its name to the famous spirit. If Perez does well at his home race he might just enjoy both on Sunday evening.


When it comes to sports, football has pole position in Mexico. The national team has reached the World Cup quarterfinals twice, and the domestic top tier Liga MX is hugely popular.

'There is definitely huge interest in football here, especially just days after Mexico defeated USA in the Confederations Cup playoff,' said Davies on her tour of Mexico City. 'We also spotted lots of Barcelona, Real Madrid and Chelsea shirts in the streets.'

Along with soccer and baseball, Mexico's national sports include the rodeo-like charreada, bullfighting and lucha libre (free wrestling).

Motorsport does have strong roots in Mexico, however. As well as F1, there is a NASCAR Mexico series -- where Perez's elder brother Antonio is among the racing ranks -- and a rally on the gravel roads of Guanajuato joined the World Rally Championship in 2004.

'Mexicans have an impulse to believe we are much better at individual sports such as boxing, diving, Taekwondo and motor racing,' explains Mexican F1 fan Cesar Talamantes.

'Many people have never seen a sports car in their life but as soon as they hear a Ferrari they immediately know what that is.

'The Mexican character is romantic and nostalgic, and Mexico City's autodromo is named for two fallen brothers.

'I believe the Mexican Grand Prix has a place in history, maybe not for results, not for the legends like Prost, Senna and Mansell, but for the feeling of the people who follow this sport of man and machine.'

The cheapest three-day tickets for the 2015 Mexican Grand Prix, priced at 1500 pesos ($91), sold out in just one minute, with all tickets now snapped up.


Mexico City is the highest stop on the F1 calendar at 2,250 meters -- or 1½ miles -- above sea level.

The capital's thin air means there is less oxygen to breathe, so all teams -- and especially the drivers -- will be pushed to their physical limits.

Luckily, many drivers now include altitude training as part of their preseason preparations. Newly-crowned world champion Lewis Hamilton may have the edge there too as he does the bulk of his winter training at his home in Colorado's Rocky Mountains.

Despite meticulous preparations, the Mexperience.com blog warns that the capital city throws up a unique set of challenges to acclimatise to.

'Mexico City is also in a valley surrounded by mountains and flanked by two volcanoes,' it explains. 'The mix of altitude, heat and smog can be quite uncomfortable.'

The thin air traditionally took its toll on F1's speed machines too, but engine grunt is unlikely to be affected in the modern era of turbo hybrid engines.


F1's peripatetic community always bubbles with anticipation about a new stop on the sport's world tour, and a visit to Mexico's capital promises plenty of new adventures.

'Mexico City is a real mix of old and new,' Davies reports. 'Stunning buildings like the Palacio de Bellas Artes and the cathedral are juxtaposed with incredible new architecture like the stunning Soumaya museum and plenty of Starbucks.

'There's a vibrancy walking around the streets, with newspaper sellers walking up and down in rows of traffic and shoe shiners on each corner too.'

Talamantes, who will make the trip from the northern city of Monterrey for his first home GP, describes Mexico City as a 'megalopolis.'

'There are around 20 million inhabitants and the usual troubles of traffic, pollution, protest rallies, but the crime rate is low proportionally speaking,' he adds. 'The weather is fine. Not so hot, nor cold. It's definitely a fun place and vibrant place to go out.'

With so much to occupy the ancient city's inhabitants, F1 fever might not have hit the capital just yet.

'F1 excitement seems relatively low key,' says Davies, who visited in early October. 'There's a dummy Force India car in a shopping center owned by Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim and a few team billboards.

'The people I've spoken to say they are excited but that they don't know too much about the race. But the GP did sell out in days and organizers are now building more stands to accommodate the demand.'


From tacos to tequila, Mexico food tingles taste buds around the world, while the avocado -- now a super-food staple of the Western diet -- originated there. What can F1 expect on the menu at the Mexican Grand Prix?

'The food is amazing!' Davies reported. 'There is also a real desire from the locals to push the visiting F1 contingent away from the commercial view of Mexican food.

'There are little stalls on street corners selling tacos but menus are far less stereotypical than the food we see served up in Mexican restaurants abroad.

'Esquites, made from sweetcorn, lime and sour cream, are seriously yummy!'


F1 can expect a colorful fiesta in Mexico as the country prepares for its indigenous Dia de los Muertos -- Day of the Dead -- festival.

The national holiday, which honors deceased loved ones, begins on race day and ends late on Monday, which means F1's celebrations can go on long into the night.

'Dia de Muertos won't be incorporated as part of the race,' says Talamantes. 'But the environment around it will be immersed in it.

'It's a national holiday in Mexico, a day to visit our loved ones' graves and to celebrate and remember the loved ones still around us.'


Sombreros, mariachi music and 'Speedy Gonzales' -- the return of the Mexican Grand Prix is an opportunity to end national stereotypes.

'The stereotype, mostly from Hollywood movies, is a picture of the 'narco' guy with a gun, a cowboy hat, a big mustache and a bottle of tequila,' describes proud Mexican Talamantes.

'Sadly that character is a reality in some isolated places but it's not the reality in most of the country.

'The idea of a successful Latin American, whether that is Mexican Perez or Venezuelan Lotus driver Pastor Maldonado, would be an inspiration.

F1 is also a billion-dollar business with international prestige, and returning to the North American nation is also seen as proof that modern Mexico has plenty of potential.

'It's important because it shows the international community trusts Mexico,' adds Talamantes.


Just like with any new entry on F1's hit parade of races, there is always one adage worth remembering ...

'Expect the unexpected!' says Talamantes, who is excited about traveling to his first grand prix.

'The new facilities, the nostalgia for the old track, the struggle among the teams and, between all this, the expectation and nerves of the Mexican fans to see their own 'Checo' do well.'

If there is one thing that hasn't changed from the first GP in 1963 to the next in 2015, it is the Mexican passion for motorsport.

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Category : lawyer

Mexican Grand Prix: F1 resurrection reveals the real Mexico

Mexican Grand Prix: F1 resurrection reveals the real Mexico

- World champions Jim Clark, Nigel Mansell, Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost counted themselves winners of the North American sizzler at