After a trying first season following his move to McLaren, Sergio Perez admits that he is already looking forward to leading the team to the Mexican Grand Prix.
That opportunity may be a little way off just yet, with Perez and team-mate Jenson Button
currently focused on this weekend's Italian Grand Prix, but confirmation that the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez is in line for a spot on the 2014 calendar has given the Mexican something to celebrate.
An early version at the 2014 F1 calendar was revealed on the eve of the Monza weekend and, as expected, featured the addition of races in Mexico, Russia and Austria amongst a 21-stop schedule. While a return to the Red Bull
Ring – formerly known as the A1 Ring, the Osterreichring and Zeltweg – it is a chance to show off in front of his home fans that has Perez salivating most of all.
"I'm very excited,” he admitted to journalists in Italy, “It's not confirmed yet, but I feel there are very big chances now of this happening. It will be great for my country, great for the sport. F1 will be amazed how popular this grand prix can become - it will be huge for the sport to go there."
As expected, the Mexican race features towards the end of the 2014 schedule, but was listed before
the USGP rather than after it as anticipated. The 9 November slot ensures a three-race swing through the Americas to end the campaign, with Brazil continuing to stage the season finale.
Mexico last hosted a grand prix in 1992, when Nigel Mansell triumphed for Williams en route
to his world championship title. That race also took place at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, which is on course to return to the calendar despite rumours that Mexico was seeking alternative venues, such as the resort of Cancun, to stage its comeback.
The Autodromo has undergone several changes since F1's last visit, and has staged various other categories since the 'top flight' departed, including both NASCAR and the now-defunct Champ Car World Series. Further alterations are expected before the Mexican Grand Prix returns, with preferred penman Hermann Tilke slated to take charge of the process.
"I know how good the racetrack is," Perez continued, "Obviously, they need to rebuild it, but there is time enough. They have to change the pits to make them proper for F1, and [improve] a few corners but, apart from that, it's just a matter of time what they can do. They don't have to do big things for the racetrack to be ready so I really hope - for the good of the sport and my country - that it happens."