MEXICAN GRAND PRIX
AUTÓDROMO HERMANOS RODRÍGUEZ - MEXICO CITY
MEXICAN GP: ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW
The story of the Mexican Grand Prix dates back to 1959 when the then President, Adolfo Lopez Mateo, listened to one of his advisers, the father of the most famous Mexican drivers, Ricardo and Pedro Rodriguez.
The president thus had the circuit built and today it carries the name of the two Rodriguez brothers and is located inside the Magdalena Mixiuhca sports complex in Mexico City, making use of existing roads. F1 in Mexico came into being not long after, in 1962 in fact, when motorsport’s blue riband category took part in a non-championship race.
The following year, the Mexican Grand Prix was officially part of the calendar and was won by Jim Clark. From then on there were 20 more races, all at the Mexico City track, in three blocks from 1963-1970, 1986-1992 and then from 2015 to the present day.
The Mexican GP is less scary
However, the new track layout is very different. Inevitably, when a track needs modifying, circuit designer Hermann Tilke was called in to get the job done. The original track was known as a real test of courage and commitment from the drivers and its high speed nature has been retained in the new version.
Sadly for traditionalists, its most famous and scary corner, the Peraltada, no longer exists because there was no room to build a modern-standard run-off area. The track now runs through a nearby baseball stadium!
A very enthusiastic and large crowd fills those stadium seats and the rest of the grandstands, because the Mexicans love our sport and they have made “Formula 1 Mexico” an unmissable event for the boisterous local fans. But spectators also come from abroad to enjoy one of the most vibrant and lively cities in the world.
In fact, the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, in the east of the Mexican capital, is easily reachable by a metro link to the city centre: a perfect opportunity for a weekend mixing sport and culture.
AUTÓDROMO HERMANOS RODRÍGUEZ
Racing at altitude
The Hermanos Rodriguez Circuit, named after the two racing brothers, Pedro and Ricardo, sits at 2,286 metres above sea level. It’s an important factor as the air is rarified, making the job of cooling the brakes more complicated, while the engines tend to struggle to suck in enough oxygen for combustion purposes. On the plus side, there is less aerodynamic drag, so that the cars hit very high speeds, even while running quite high aerodynamic downforce.
The track is situated in a park in the suburbs of Mexico City and the circuit has hosted no fewer than twenty Formula 1 Grands Prix, the last one in 2019. The pandemic meant there was no race in 2020, but last year the action resumed, with the race now called the Mexico City Grand Prix.
A unique feature of this venue is that the track slices through the “Foro Sol” baseball stadium, home to the Diablos Rojos del Messico. At the end of the race the podium ceremony and post-race festivities take place in this section, in front of a huge grandstand that spans the track.