F1’s Mexican Standoff Is Over As New Private Funding Deal Saves The Mexico City Grand Prix
The future of Formula 1’s popular Mexican Grand Prix has been assured with a new three-year deal signed to keep the race on the calendar up to at least the end of the 2022 season. Since returning as an F1 stop-off in 2015 the Mexican round at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez venue has proved a fans’ favourite.
Over 1.3 million people have attended the meeting in that time—with vast crowds packing the atmospheric baseball stadium section at the end of the lap—and the Mexican race has also been awarded the FIA award for best event in each of the four years since rejoining the calendar. The new deal was formally signed after an agreement between F1, the event promoter and the Mexico City government.
It had looked likely that the Mexico round would be dropped by F1 as the country’s president Andrés Manuel López Obrador, after taking office last December, said government funding for the race that had unpinned the event would be cut in favour of other tourism projects.
However a new funding arrangement has been devised where the local Mexico City government will create a trust to raise private money to fund the race, with the city government acting as an intermediary. Reflecting the city government’s role in securing the race, as part of the new agreement the event is to change its name to the ‘Mexico City Grand Prix’.
“We are pleased to have renewed our partnership with Mexico City,” said F1’s CEO Chase Carey. “Ever since it returned to the championship calendar in 2015, this event has always proved to be amazingly popular with the public and fans, not just in Mexico, but also around the world. The grand prix has also been an important economic driver for the city, reinforcing its credentials as a centre for tourism.” The race and venue also has an extended F1 history, as F1 also competed at a previous version of the track between 1963 to 1970, and from 1986 to 1992.
Mexico City mayor Claudia Sheinbaum Pardo explained the race’s new funding arrangement, stating the event would not be funded with public money and that private funding via a trust created by the city government will be used instead. “The presence of Formula 1 in the city for three more years was achieved for the first time through a new financing model in which public resources are not used,” she said. “Previously the federal government collaborated with the payment for the event. The Mexico City government will be an intermediary, creating a trust that will raise the private investment required to deliver this international event. The price of the tickets will remain the same as in previous years.”
The full 2020 F1 calendar is expected in the next few weeks, and Mercedes boss Toto Wolff confirmed recently that F1 teams have agreed to a 22-race schedule, up one from this year’s 21 rounds. A new street race in Vietnam’s capital Hanoi plus a return of the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort will be additions to next year’s calendar, while there are doubts over the retention of the Spanish, German and Italian rounds.
Images courtesy of Gobierno CDMX