27 August 2013
Mexico to replace New Jersey in 2014 plans?
A fully-funded Mexican Grand Prix could trump the struggling Grand Prix of America when it comes to claiming a place on next year's F1 schedule.
Mexico could be poised to step in as the replacement for the proposed Grand Prix of America on next year's F1 schedule.
F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has made no secret of his desire to return Mexico to the calendar, but several false starts have prevented the event from figuring among the myriad candidates that have made the grade in recent seasons.
While last week's broadside at the organisers of the New Jersey race may have been just another means of hurrying things along, Ecclestone appears ready to include Mexico in his plans for 2014, suggesting at Spa-Francorchamps that a decision could be made within the next couple of weeks.
Having let slip his interest to NBC's Will Buxton during his pre-race grid walk in Belgium, Ecclestone told Autoweek that he was working towards making the race a reality.
According to the latter, the Mexican race would also see the return of the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez which, having been given a facelift since its last F1 appearance in 1992, is now under the guidance of Circuit of the Americas originator – and Mexico native - Tavo Hellmund.
“I should know within a couple of weeks about Mexico,” Ecclestone told Autoweek, “I'm going to try to make it happen.”
There is added impetus to return F1 to Mexico with both Sergio Perez and Esteban Gutierrez on the grid this season and, while the latter's position at Sauber could be threatened by the team's new reliance on Russian backing and the apparent imposition of Sergey Sirotkin for 2014, Hellmund has pulled together an all-star team to help in the event's resurrection.
Alejandro Soberon, CEO of live entertainment giant CIE, is joined Carlos Slim Domit, the son of the world's richest man and, perhaps crucially, a member of the FIA Senate, while new Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto is also understood to be in favour of the race returning as soon as possible.
Whether Mexico - now a staple on the WRC schedule - fills the June calendar slot originally earmarked for New Jersey will, in part, depend on whether the US event can find the money it needs to proceed – and Ecclestone insists that he has not given up on Leo Hindery Jr's team entirely – but, with Austria and Russia already expected to join the fray for 2014, there could still be some shuffling to do before the final calendar appears in December. India has already said that it will not be part of the schedule and doubts remain over the viability of Korea as an F1 destination, but Ecclestone knows that the teams are keen to keep the number of races at a maximum of 20.
Nigel Mansell won the final Mexican Grand Prix from pole position on his way to the 1992 world championship title. Gerhard Berger claimed fastest lap.
Click on relevant pic to enlarge
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