Why ‘Mexico’s Interlagos’ would be perfect for F1


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Riccardo Patrese and Nigel Mansell in the 1991 Mexican Grand Prix

Mexico has held 15 world championship races in the past and is among the most likely forthcoming additions to the F1 calendar.

Local interest is growing thanks to Sergio Perez, Mexico’s first F1 driver for 30 years. Perez is entering his second season in F1 after an impressive debut campaign which included a test for Ferrari, whose driving development programme he is part of.

Hot on his heels is fellow countryman Esteban Gutierrez, who won the GP3 championship in 2010 and is expected to contend for the GP2 crown with Lotus GP (formerly ART) this year.

Both enjoy backing from Mexican telecommunications giant Telmex. Carlos Slim Domit, son of Telmex’s chairman (and the world’s richest man) Carlos Slim Helu, is an enthusiastic supporter of bringing F1 back to Mexico.

Domit, an FIA Senate member and patron of the Asociacion Mexicana Automovilistica (Mexican Automobile Association), believes a Mexican round could connect with the existing races in Canada and Brazil and forthcoming two rounds in the USA.

He told the FIA’s InMotion magazine last December: “Linking races in Canada and the US with a Mexican round would perfectly consolidate Formula One’s footprint in North and Central America and provide a viable bridge to the race in Brazil.”

On a recent visit to Mexico FIA president Jean Todt said: “Today, Mexico is an economically strong country and I am convinced that in the future [an F1 return] is possible,

“However, we know that the races have a cost, [and] there are also a number of criteria for the approval of an event, especially in terms of safety.”

The best of both worlds

Mexico previously held F1 races between 1963 and 1970 and again from 1986 to 1992 at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City. Domit calls the circuit the “obvious choice” for a revived Mexican Grand Prix.

It’s not hard to see why. Most F1 circuits can be broadly divided into two categories: permanent facilities built outside of city centres, and temporary facilities built within city centres.

Both have obvious compromises: Circuits built on public roads have restricted layouts and while some can produce excellent tracks (Monaco, Long Beach) others turn out less well (Valencia, Phoenix). Permanent facilities do not have this problem, but they lack the key advantage of holding a race in the middle of a city – immediate access to a large population.

The Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez potentially offers the best of both worlds. The circuit is already built, though it would undoubtedly need updating to modern standards.

And, like Interlagos in Brazil, it has the advantage of being situated in a very large city. Mexico City is home to 20.4 million people, making it the world’s third-largest metropolitan area, outstripping current and future F1 venues Sao Paulo (Interlagos) and New York (New Jersey) respectively.


Domit called the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez an “obvious choice” for a race. But, like Todt, he stressed the need to bring the circuit up to F1′s safety standards: “This would of course need remodelling to bring it up to the standard of the circuits now gracing the F1 stage, but several design agencies have been consulted and the possibilities for the circuit are good.”

Last year FIA safety delegate Charlie Whiting inspected the circuit to examine its potential for upgrading to FIA Grade 1 status.

Domit added: “The circuit also has enormous heritage value and features such as the legendary banked Peraltada corner (the 180-degree right-hander at the end of the lap) would make the track a fine addition to any calendar.”

But when it comes to modernising old circuits while retaining their character, F1 does not have a great track record (excuse the pun). Hockenheim’s conversion has not proved popular with fans and the circuit now hosts races on alternate years. Fuji Speedway was emasculated with a seemingly endless series of tight, slow corners – and held just two F1 races before being dropped again.

It’s unrealistic to expect F1 drivers to be allowed to tackle the Peraltada in its current form without either drastically reducing their entry speed or adding extra run-off (unlikely as there’s a public road behind the retaining wall). Hopefully much of its simple layout and sinuous curves could be retained without resorting to the usual Tilke tricks of making the lap excessively long and infested with hairpins and chicanes.


Perez entertained a huge crowd at Guadalajara

At a time when many F1 circuits are suffering from falling spectators numbers, the potential popularity of a Mexican Grand Prix is an exciting prospect. Last year over 150,000 people turned out to see Perez drive his Sauber in his home town of Guadalajara.

Domit adds: “The 2005 Champ Car race at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez reportedly attracted a race day crowd of some 159,000 people and an event weekend total of 271,000 fans. These are figures that would be the envy of any F1 circuit.”

There are rival new-build projects competing to be the home of a new Mexican Grand Prix. No doubt these would offer pristine tracks, gleaming pit buildings and somewhere fancy for the Paddock Club denizens to quaff their champagne, nibble their amuse-bouche and ignore the inconvenient din of racing cars.

But none of them could rival the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez for heritage, nor its proximity to such a vast audience. F1 would be crazy to consider going anywhere else in Mexico.


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Image ۩ Williams/LAT, Sauber F1 Team

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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98 comments on “Why ‘Mexico’s Interlagos’ would be perfect for F1”

  1. I’ve always found the track to be a little overrated. The last corner was exciting 20 odd years ago, but would it even be a challenge for a modern F1 car? The rest of the track is just an endless series of esses, which might be alright if the track had a bit more variety to it, but it doesn’t.

    The potential for large crowds is good, and I suppose the fact it’s different from other tracks would add some much needed variety to the calendar, but, much like the old Hockenheim, I think it’s just a case of rose tinted glasses.

    1. I think its nice to have a track with some history and as you write it does offer something of a different tone @dan-thorn, but I agree that is not going to make sure its a classic immediately.

      But I would give it the benefit of the doubt, lets bring it on!

    2. @dan-thorn I think as a combination of track plus location plus crowd it’s hard to beat.

      Speaking just about the track, I’m a big fan. Yes, there are obvious obstacles to getting it right for modern F1 as mention in the article. But otherwise it’s great: it’s not too long a lap (4.4km, times would probably be in the Interlagos region) and modern F1 cars would look fantastic going through the “endless series of esses”.

      I think that particular sequence is a excellent – like they always used to say if you get the first part wrong you’ll be paying for it six or seven corners later.

      I think that, much like the old Hockenheim, it’s quite unlike anything else on the calendar right now. And that’s a huge plus point in its favour.

      There is a stultifying lack of variety in modern F1 track design. This is something other than a couple of massive straights bookended by hairpins plus a few perfunctory squiggles. I’d give it a place on the calendar for its layout alone.

      1. I’m on board for track variety, Keith, and I would love to see the old Hockenheim back. Based on inspection via Google map, however, this track in Mexico would be another anvil like Valencia or Bahrain.

        The only possible passing spot (other than DRS) would be the turn at the end of the straight and even that would be difficult because it is radius turn rather than a hard right. Suzuka’s esses, which I think are most comparable, are similar but the rest of Suzuka is varied. This track in Mexico appears to be nothing but curves. ..and basically a flat track to boot. (Based on Google maps terrain and the fact that the infield is full of football(soccer) fields)

        I agree that Tilke tracks are too formulaic and boring but I think the problem with Tilke is not the ideas behind his tracks but the execution. If you look at some of the great tracks they are great because they follow the land and have variety of turns and “straights,” (I put that in quotes because a lot of great straights are not exactly straight,) and the variety allows for passing opportunities and interesting lines. Tilke wants to emulate these but tries to shoehorn them into a flat arena and seems to have little creativity beyond the first track he designed.

        This track looks like what a Bizarro Tilke would design. Still formulaic and boring but instead of straights and hairpins, just an endless series of esses. Back and forth, back and forth.

        1. Think hungaroring. Although its a series of essess ee still seem to get great races there, and it doesn’t even have much of a straight.

        2. Bahrain isn’t that bad. It isn’t exceptional, but it was only truly terrible the one time they ran an obviously bad layout.

      2. 20 years ago I was 7 years old, so I’ve never watched a race held in Mexico City but I like what a see on that image, that pistol shaped circuit in the middle of a “concrete jungle” seems fabulous. I’d say it’s a “slam dunk”.

        Plus, adding Mexico to Canada, US and Brazil would be perfect, to make it even better, they could drop Bahrain and add Argentina to the party. We could have three back-to-back races in the Americas, I thinking about (1) Montreal+NY/NJ, (2) Austin+Mexico City and (3) Argentina+São Paulo… oh if I was Bernie!

      3. I’m 100% with you Keith. Not only is the city location great, it’s hosted some of the most amazing races of the late 80s early 90s including in my opinion the best F1 race ever in 1990.

        The great thing about the track is that with the altitude, the downforce is low, and the long straight meant teams weren’t able to pile on the downforce so the cars slide around. Incredibly Prost even took off downforce to save his tyres and that contributed to his 1990 victory (and 3th place grid position)

        Couple this with the bumps that used to appear each year and you have a recipe for a massive driver challenge.

        However I really can’t see the current layout surviving an F1 visit intact, and that’s assuming they don’t take one look at the bumps turn round and run back to Valencia…

    3. Regarding the Peraltada, It was spectacular then and no doubt it would be spectacular now-a superfast corner but one even an F1 car will never be able to take flat out because of the extreme 180 deg. radius in a relatively short space. IMO it has the potential to be the best corner in F1 right now.

      1. i saw that corner in 91-92 and it was good.
        I saw corner 8 at instambul park in 2009, and eventhough they should give you the same type of feeling, wasn’t even close.
        The bigest problem with f1 in general and circuits in particular today, it’s that the spectator is so far away from the action for safety reasons that you don’t get the shock factor.
        If they don’t come with a solution for that, hermanos rodrigez is going to be like the rest of the canibaliized race tracks.

  2. Can the road behind the banking be closed on race days to be used as extra run-off?

    1. As this is running behind the banking, i would guess that even if it can be closed off, the height difference would make it completely unfit to act as temporary extra run-off :-0

    2. What about moving the Peraltada a few hundred meters back? A similar change was done for the Parabolica in Estoril.

      1. Can’t do that, without demolishing the baseball stadium at the inside of the corner. Since I dislike baseball intensely I’m all for it, but I suspect the many Mexican baseball fans are of different opinion. :)

    3. Champ Car used the infield of the baseball stadium as a part of the track to avoid the Peraltada… The Hermanos Rodríguez Track have 4 places for passing… 3 if they use the Peraltada… The road cant be closed because its a freeway and the way to the airport… The Peraltada reducted the banking because Senna had a hard crash there in 1991, but with the original banking (much like an oval circuit curve) can be possible for modern f1 cars…

      1. there really isn’t much space at the back of that curve:


        character-wise it looks like a great circuit!

  3. This track better than a fair few number of the tracks on the current calendar. I imagine that crowds will be huge, with many more watching at home, so returning to this track would be a win-win for the sport.

    1. I’m not sure if it really is better. But is different and I like that. I think they should give it a try.
      But I think you might be right about the massive audience. And that’s something additions to the calender often lack.

      1. +1.

        I don’t expect it to be as boring as Valencia.

        1. I hope this year Valencia to be more interesting with different tyres strategies.

          1. We said that last year…

          2. I don´t know what you said last year, but Pirelli´s are different and the season too. All the races have raised notes…

  4. If I remember correctly, for the champ car races run at Mexico City they had to different layouts. The first went through a mickey mouse section (where they’ve built a baseball stadium) on the inside of Peraltada, therefore bypassing the corner. The second layout had a chicane on the run-up to Peraltada, so the corner was taken at low speed. It sounds like they won’t be able to add extra run-off so that means the corner will have to be neutered in some way, unfortunatly. However, it’s a historic venue and has a great atmosphere, so I’d welcome it’s return. It’d make a pretty cool 3 race (primetime)finale, with Austin and Interlagos…

    1. @lsmanley True, although A1 Grand Prix did race with the corner in its original form as recently as 2007.

      More on that here (including a pic!):

      Argentina and Mexico examine F1 track possibilities

      1. Well remembered. In a dream scenario they’d just rip up the public road (building a replacement somewhere else) and put more run-off. Not inconceivable, I doubt they have the same planning permission rules we have here… I’m sure if Carlos Slim(s) want it done, it’ll be done!

    2. I remember the champ car race that cut the Peraltada in half.
      90 right into the baseball stadium.
      Then 90 left
      The 90 right back on to the Peraltada half way through the corner.
      Of course I’d prefer if F1 used the full Peraltada but it’s been a long time since F1 ran on this track and it’s probably not safe now to do that.

      NASCAR used the full Peraltada but put a chichane on the main straight instead. http://www.nascar.com/races/tracks/ahr/

      1. the nascar´s chicane was in the middle of the main straight, before curve 1… Peraltada is the last one… BTW Nascar cars cant brake as hard as an F1, that was the explain of the chicane… A1 and BMW used a chicane before the Peraltada…

  5. F1 would be crazy to consider going anywhere else in Mexico.

    Which is why they’ll go elsewhere. FOM and the FIA have a long history of looking at all the options and going with “Which one makes the least possible sense, and benefits the lowest number of people?”

    1. That is so true. I think back when F1 visited Phoenix, the other option was Laguna Seca. A sensible person would have chosen Laguna Seca ten times out of ten, but this the FOM and FIA were talking about.

      1. @slr F1 cars on Laguna Seca?

        Honestly, that just doesn’t make sense, the track is far too narrow for F1 cars to overtake, and the corkscrew would just be dangerous… It’s difficult enough in a road car on the games consoles.. Imagine how hard it would be in real life F1?

        Whereas I feel F1 needs to have a presence in countries like this (although preferably only 1 race per country) I do worry as to the length of the calendar, Bernie kept saying that 20 races would be the limit, and with 2 American tracks coming up, Russia in 2014, and all the others that have been rumoured (South Africa, France, Argentina to name a few), some tracks currently on the calendar would have to go… And there’s too many tracks coming in to just ‘make do’ with getting rid of Valencia/Barcelona (which are the only 2 agreeably bad tracks on the calendar). Others will have to go aswell, Spa/Monza etc.

        It’s sad, but it’s gotta be realised at some point.. The calendar cannot cope with more than 20 races…

        1. @keeleyobsessed Laguna Seca still beats Phoenix, though I understand what you’re saying.

  6. This anger’s me, this need, to ruin perfectly decent track’s & bring them up to “f1 standard”. I don’t watch champ car & was’nt aware they raced thier, but as I understand thing’s, champ car’s are similar to an f1 car, so if nobody got hurt or killed then, in 2005, then why, all of a sudden is the track so unsafe. It is’nt.

    Fine, if f1 want’s to build new track’s to the mythical ‘f1 standard’ but stop ruining perfectly fine existing racetracks.

    Build new pit facilites etc, ok, but stop ruining racetracks.

    1. F1 cars are massively faster through fast corners than the Champ Cars. Something like the Brawn or the RB8 that’s especially good in fast corners would absolutely destroy those esses and come into the banked corner at top speed.

      I agree that we should be using traditional racetracks and giving the drivers a variety of challenges: but the 18 years since Senna’s death should not lead us to complacency.

      1. You’ve hit the nail on the head there. As much as it pains me to say it, a lot of the sterilization that goes on when tracks are “brought up to F1 standards” is actually a necessity. When you look at the after effects of Perez’s crash in Monaco last season (the one track that is allowed to stay on the calendar despite being inappropraite for F1) you can’t argue otherwise.

        The thought of an RB7 going off at nearly full speed in the Peraltada is really scary considering the lack of run off there.

        1. People get concussion’s playing football, people get paralised and killed playing football, football’s ok, people fall of thier push bike’s and get hurt, downhill skiers fall and get hurt, skateboaders fall and get hurt, tennis players get injured, golfers get injuries, people riding horse’s , jumping and racing them fall of and get hurt. Civilans get killed every day in road cars and if the accident scene was part of our daily commute we would all continue to travel that exact same route.

          The state of fear&paranoia in F1 is a bit much, I think.

          1. Maybe, maybe not. If this were a bicycle race, there wouldn’t be runoff areas. Crashes would hurt but little else.

            But if an F1 track is unsafe, especially one in a city, you risk another 1955 Le Mans with a car going off at speed around fans.

            I’m sure none of the drivers don’t have a deathwish but there is no reason to make it unnecessarily life-threatening either.

          2. Yes, but people who participate in those activities know and accept the risks. When you have a track in close proximity to a road, you don’t want a car flying off the road, vaulting the barriers and killing civilians.

            You can never be too paranoid about safety in situations like that.

          3. The performance characteristics of Champ Cars and F1 cars are quite different; simply because a track is adequate for the former does not mean it is adequate for the latter. Furthermore, simply because a track is considered safe enough for a series in 2005 does not mean it will be safe in 2012 following seven years of car development.

          4. @mattynotwo

            And steps are taken to protect downhill skiers and footballers and horse riders and everyone else – just as is the case in F1.

            It’s very easy to say “they’re too worried about safety in F1 these days” – but what exactly do you propose they do differently?

            And how would you justify lessening safety standards in the event that someone got badly hurt or worse?

          5. lol, I don’t work for the FIA, so I don’t have to justify anything, but, I’ll play along.

            If we were to use football as an example, if someone get’s a concussion or a broken leg, which is way more common in football than F1, it’s not an issue of safety or lack of is it?

            It happen’s.

            If someone drive’s an F1 car, gets a broken leg or concussion, fear&paranoia kicks in about lack of safety.

            2 totally different responses to the exact same thing.

          6. @mattynotwo Luckily for drivers like Sergio Perez and Robert Kubica, the FIA’s response to Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger’s deaths was rather more intelligent than to say “it happens” and carry on as before.

            Your comparison between F1 and football is naive. You’re talking about a collision between two human bodies travelling no faster than they can run. Compare that to the dizzying range of possible outcomes when when one or multiple cars, each capable of huge speeds, collide with each other or a barrier.

            Where’s the point of impact? What’s the barrier made out of? What surface are they on? Are they in the air? How does an impact-absorption structure deform after multiple hits? Just a few of the myriad factors that can contribute to the dynamics of a crash.

            That’s why safety in F1 is a vastly more complicated issue than safety in football. That’s why it requires more careful consideration.

            Take Felipe Massa’s 2009 crash as an example. Did the FIA demand cockpit canopies be installed at the next race or the following season? No, they’re studying whether they would make an appreciable improvement in safety because it’s a complex subject. What if a canopy made it harder for a driver to escape in a fire, for example?

            What they have done is demand stronger helmets and visors, and these are already in use. Do you think they should have just said “it happens” and carry on? How would you justify not improving helmet safety if someone had a similar crash to Massa’s – but with a heavier object than a spring?

            No, you don’t work for the FIA. But as you seem to think racing drivers should make periodic blood sacrifices to satisfy your desire that the sport should not be ‘too safe’, then expect to get put on the spot.

          7. @mattnotwo, Keith is perfectly right when he writes how putting in more factors, engines etc. into the equation, its automatically far more complicated a matter and something governing bodies have to look at closely.

            And when you write about other sports and claim they do not regulate and change safety, you rather show you are not well informed.

            Just look at how helmets are now mandatory for cycling, Ice-hockey, skiing etc, when a decade ago no one wanted to be seen with those or be laughed at for being a sissy.

            Fact is, that the FIA is at the forefront of studying accidents and implementing safety measures (and rightly so).
            But the more we learn about impacts, the more people realise that its not normal to accept serious consequences of accidents and that better protection, different surfaces and better equipment can do a lot to save lives in just about any sport.

          8. I for one think that F1 is defined as a single-seater, open-cockpit, closed wheel (as of approx ’55 anyway) series. I probably would disagree with the introduction of canopies. But other than that, even if it visually neuters the sport it is ridiculous to want to return to racing as it was in the 70’s, for instance. And the football analogy is also invalidated but the vast number of people actually playing football in comparison to competing in F1- probably all motorsports combined in fact.

          9. by the vast number

          10. No, my compararison between F1 and football is not naive. What is naive, and displays a gratuitous sense of entitlement, is to say that it is reasonable to sit in race car at 300km/h+, {which most people who don’t follow motorsport would say is an idiotic thing to do to start with} be paid millions to do it, then expect, that if something goes wrong, to come out of every incident without a scratch, all the while everyday civilians die on the roads daily. You cannot be serious.

            You will struggle to name ANY athletic endevour which does’nt carry some risk of injury.

            When you go back, read what I’ve said again you will see that I’m right.

        2. 2 things: Altitude of Mexico City reduce the engine potency of any car… The “eses” arent an easy part of the track… the turbo era of F1 prooved that this track is one of the best in the world… Come to Mexico, see the track, assist to one or two races and then call it “dangerous”, “imposible”… The Hermanos Rodriguez is like Monza but with more curves…

    2. Everybody is banging on about the lack of run off at Peraltada.

      Well American Indy cars race on tracks all the time with a barrier next to the track, they are called ovals!!

      The theory is that your better having no run off than say a short run off because it stops the car going into the wall at a steep angle. I.e. the energy gets dissipated as the car rubs the wall.

      You could probably manage Peraltada with the right kind of “SAFER” barriers. Drivers did go in that wall 20 years ago at similar speeds to now and nobody died, so lets just stay calm!!

      Otherwise They could push the public road back, it woulnd’t cost that much to do that over a 200m stretch of road.

      I think they’d need to reallign some of the corners in the middle a bit though as unlike Peraltada the accident can start on the corner before and you could end up with cars in some weird places.

      TOtally in agreement that Mexico should be on.

      Scrap the stupid races in Korea, Bahrain, China, Abu Dhabi where there are no fans and lets go to places that people actually have an interest.

  7. They could always move the road underground into a tunnel and then they’ll have some run off. I would hate to see that final corner bastardized.

  8. I used to love this track on Geoff Crammonds ‘Grand Prix’.
    Cant see modern F1 using the peraltada corner though unfortunately.

    1. Loved hopping the curbs through the esses :D

  9. I think it will be a great add to the calender at least better then Valencia.

    1. Much, much better than Valencia I think. It puzzles me that despite Bernie’s tendency to spread F1 to the entire world he keeps 2 GPs in one country (and both of them are usually the most boring races of the calendar).

      1. Fernando Alonso becomes champion, shortly after we have 2 races in Spain.

        Schumacher becomes a champion in a Ferrari, we have two races in Germany and two in Italy.

        In both Spain and Germany, F1 was a minority sport until their countrymen became champions.

        See the pattern?

        1. I don’t see the pattern. Even if F1 was a minority sport these countries hosted GPs before Alonso and Schumacher became champions. Why would Bernie still want 2 races in Spain after F1 became so popular there?

        2. Perez for champion!!

  10. Hope this project come true, along with Argentina’s new track.

  11. How would the FIA accommodate all these proposed tracks and races in a single calendar year? We would be getting Austin this year and there are stories about Russia and New Jersey, Argentina and more in the future I am sure. At the same time the FIA seems reluctant to take a track off the calendar unless it has no option. Tracks like New Delhi , Abu Dhabhi, Korea, Singapore are long term contracts while old tracks like Monaco and Monza are a given. I dont think teams would allow winter development time being allocated for a new race. And then there is the cost consideration for the teams.

    1. Because Bernie is planning on dropping more European races. If he gets his way only Monza, Monaco, Silverstone, Spa and Hockenhiem/Nurburgring will be left on the calendar in a few years.

    2. @MahavirShah At present we’ve got Korea and Valencia trying to re-negotiate their contracts, who knows what’s going to happen with Bahrain, and other tracks coming up on their contract renewal deadlines. The German race is already being rotated between two tracks and one of those is in trouble.

      So there’s quite a bit of scope for change I’d say.

      1. I just hope that ‘good’ tracks are not sacrificed for new tracks just because they attract more money. That being said, I have never seen a race in Mexico so I really dont know how good the track is. Id rather see Valencia and Catalunya go than Spa or Monza.

        1. Here’s highlights of the 1991 GP, it’s not amazing but it’s decent enough.


          1. i was at the track that day. It was a fight to the finish line and patrese won.
            There is a very intense love of f1 in south america. I am sure in any big city like mexico, lima, santiago de chile, buenos aires just to name a few, you are going to have a full house.
            Moto gp have plans for a return to argentina, and maybe brazil, plus a new venue in santiago. I imagine f1 will follow. When there is a fan base and money, the gladiator will come forward as one promoter once said.

  12. I fail to understand why you always hyperlink to the article on the Indian Grand Prix while complaining about the usual Tilke circuits. The Indian Grand Prix is one of the fastest circuits on the calendar, fastest among the Tilke ones. It has no chicanes. A better example of a standard Tilke circuit would be Bahrain or Abu Dhabi.

    1. Agreed. The Buddh International circuit produced a dull race last year, but purely as a circuit it’s pretty good, especially for a Tilke track. Abu Dhabi, on the other hand…

    2. @sumedhvidwans Because the article isn’t just about the Buddh International Circuit, and is relevant to the point being made in that part of this article.

  13. I’d like to see this circuit return as I think Mexico would be a great country for F1 to visit. Id include Mexico in place of Bahrain or Abu Dhabi. Talking of old tracks, Id also like to see F1 at Kyalami again.

    1. agree. They are more interesting countries to visit. Fearly prced food and beer, plus good looking women. That’s what the fans want between qualy and the race.
      Good heritage, and intense tracks with bad surface, that pushes the cars to the limit.
      A better option that many places like baharain and valencia, istambul, just to name a few.

  14. “Fuji Speedway […] held just two F1 races before being dropped again.”
    The Toyota-owned tracks wasn’t dropped — Fuji pulled out of the time-sharing deal with Suzuka. A detail, but still.

  15. If they manage to improve safety without sacrificing the flow and the spectacular corners of the track, espesially the Peraltada then yes please. But if it’s another pathetic Tilkedrome, Circuit Hermanos Rodriguez in name and location but not in spirit, then I’d rather they follow COTA’s lead and build a new track that can be both safe and exciting.

  16. I’m going to go against the grain of the article and say I don’t think this track would be very suitable for modern F1 racing. Not due to safety issues, but because those esses are going to make getting close to the car in front incredibly difficult. In it’s heyday, yes it was fantastic. I’ve raced it in GPL and it’s a pretty awesome (if very technical and tricky) track. But because of the dirty air problem when following in fast corners, I see it easily becoming processional. I’m all about bringing back some of the heritage with older tracks, but I’m not sure this is the right one for it.

    1. What do you propose then? Tilkedromes? Straight hairpin straight hairpin so the cars can get close to one another? Like, say, Abu Dhabi? Besides, with KERS and DRS it’s a moot point already.

      1. Hairpin straight hairpin straight doesn’t work. Abu Dhabi is the perfect example, the slow corners are too slow and the car in front pulls away on acceleration.

        1. And that’s exactly what I was saying, with the example of Abu Dhabi both as a sarcasm and to prove the point.

    2. Cars seem to follow each other through becketts at silverstone. I don’t think the sirty air problem is as bad as made out. Look at where Lewis Hamilton overtook Vettel around Shanghai last season, he caught him through a high-speed corner and passed him into the next one. You’ve gotta have cojones that all!

      1. agree. And don’t forget montoya. He never seemed to have any problems overtaking when everybody was saying it was imposible. Yo just have to have the talent,and the will to go for it, even if sometimes you know you are going to get it wrong.

  17. I can’t see how they could use the Peraltada at all at the moment. There’s not even space to put in a chicane before it. Best Option would be put the road behind in tunnel and have the run off over the top.

    Here’s why the Peratalda need to be kept. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2g1yrGputA

    1. i remember that one. You’ve got to love nige. He was so brave.
      He fought the best drivers in the history of the sport, and he beat them sometimes.

  18. the track is good have lots of history, in that track the first Nascar race out of the US was ran there, the Champ car ran there also the cart, the Grand AM i think not sure.
    i really like the final turn “la peraltada” (have lot of banking that turn).

    Mexico have a lots of avantage but have a little problem
    1) the surface of the track because, Mexico is down under mud the whole Mexico city in under mud so the track have a deformations in the track and they have to repave the track each year and is very expensive.

  19. Attenede 3 GPs at Mexico City- always had a great time inside the track, but the area surronding the track was very depressing. Hope things have improved since the 1980’s – F1 must be careful not to create an image where it is seen as an amusement for the wealthy playing while surronded by proverty

  20. I’m certainly for returning to circuits with a big history in F1, in countries where the sport has always been felt intensively rather than building a new circuit in the middle of nowhere, or closing some random streets in a metropolis and holding a race there.
    However I don’t think this current way of changing the rounds on the calendar will work well for long. Hosting a race, spending millions to adjust the circuit to modern day standards, just because there is currently a Mexican in F1 is ridiculous. If the fans follow the sport just because Perez is racing, what will happen when he will retire? The race will be dropped as no one will be interested anymore.
    On the other hand, if the Mexicans are really fascinated by F1 and want to host a race there, and it’s not only a momentary passion which Perez is bringing, I’m all for a race at the Hermanos Rodriguez circuit.
    I don’t have a clear opinion on the circuit: everyone says the Peraltada is a great corner, and @keithcollantine praises the whole track, so I loved it when I finished reading the article. Then I read @dan-thorn‘s comment, and I saw the other face of the medal.
    Definitely I’d rather a race in Mexico, which has a great heritage, on a glorious track, than another Tilkedrome designed for its infrastructures and not for good racing.

    1. the perez factor is just what’s necesary to bring f1 back. But without mexican drivers the race track is full no matter what.
      Do not understimate the fan base in south america. All races live on tv, at a very early hour. The dakar, and they are building tracks now that the economy is booming.
      Who would build a race track nowadays in europe?

  21. Tim Wood (@Austin_F1)
    15th February 2012, 18:17

    I don’t think F1 would be crazy to consider the Cancun area, with its massive hotel base and popularity as a tourist destination for travelers from all over the world.

    My family and I would be there literally every year.

  22. …and somewhere fancy for the Paddock Club denizens to quaff their champagne, nibble their amuse-bouche and ignore the inconvenient din of racing cars.

    Keith, that has to be one of the funniest things you’ve ever written!!! :O)

    1. @shimks Thanks! It was fun to write…

      (Disclaimer: I have done my fair share of quaffing and nibbling.)

  23. I’m absolutely a fan of this track. The lay-out is unique, and isn’t only chicanes. Not to deny that Peraltada is the best attractive spot. I don’t see how they could make it feasible for current standards, but would be very sorry to see a race there without the famous Peraltada design.
    For the rest…long straight, great braking and overtaking spot with no need of DRS, than a difficult sequence of curves, than another straight and a hard fast-slow combination…then hairpins and increasing speed esses, so difficult to correlate…great track, guys, great track!

  24. Would they really need extra runoff at the Peraltada? Couldn’t they build an oval-style retaining wall with SAFER barrier there?

    Works for IndyCars, and F1 cars would be slower and safer than them as well, even flat out.

  25. I think the best thing that Hermanos Rodriguez has going for it is the circuit’s altitude. Because it is so far above sea level, the air is thinner than at any other circuit, which provides its own set of challenges for the teams.

    Hopefully much of its simple layout and sinuous curves could be retained without resorting to the usual Tilke tricks of making the lap excessively long and infested with hairpins and chicanes.

    I think this is a bit of a strange comment, Keith – you linked to the Buddh International Circuit, but that was very well-received. Yes, the Indian Grand Prix was dominated by Sebastian Vettel, but I think that had more to do with the RB7’s superiority over the rest of the grid rather than a bad circuit design.

    1. the altitud factor bring back memories of the old kyalamy. When the renaults usually dominated, if they got to the finish.

  26. I’d love for F1 to return to Mexico City, hopefully without a badly castrated Peraltada. Still, I think the track is great because the series of Esses in the middle of the lap flow so brilliantly. They’re like a reverse Suzuka or a Becketts to Maggots combination.

  27. I never knew how seriously to take the Mexico bid, or if there would ever be a realistic possibility. However, this article has convinced me otherwise!

  28. Great job Keith !!
    A Mexican GP would help F1 greatly and probably help American GP’s popularity as well and thus give F1 an added boost.

  29. Here’s an idea to save the Peraltada: dig it up. Then excavate the ground underneath it, and build a retaining wall on the outside of the corner, and line the barriers with catch fencing. Finally, rebuild the Peraltada exactly as it was, but the only difference is that it would now be several metres lower than it originally was.

  30. Didn’t read all the comments but I remember the NASCAR Nationwide & Grand-Am series races there and they were pretty good. As for that final corner I believe the baseball stadium is setup in a way that the track can weave through it and take only the last half of that banked corner.

  31. 20 years ago F1 cars were not safer than today, so let’s use the common sense, they were racing and taking those awesome corners at higher speeds so why suddenly the FIA are so scared about ‘peraltada’ in Mexico and other spectacular tracks and corners worldwide? I don’t see the FIA banning very dangerous corners such as ‘curva parabolica’ at Monza or ‘Eau Rouge’ at Spa …think about crashing at ‘Nouvelle chicane’ in Monaco coming outside the tunnel at top speed, why FIA isn’t banning this?

  32. Leaving aside the issue of whether they should and/or will go to Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, the larger issue is “how come everyone can largely agree on which tracks and features we like but few of them ever appear in a new facility”?

  33. Not that familiar with the circuit at all but looking at it it looks pretty good and fast, especially the fast sequence of corners.

  34. Keith Collantine: remarkable foresight, 2 and a half years ahead of his time! What a prophetic post this was.

    1. Thanks!

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