Formula 1

The History of Formula 1 in Mexico and its Long Journey Back

Jaime Villegas

By Jaime Villegas

March 25, 2015

Mexican Flag resized 600

This week officially marks 23 years since a Mexico Grand Prix was last hosted and I thought what better way to celebrate the return of F1™ racing to Mexico than with a walk down memory lane. With anticipation reaching an all-time high over the track renovations and improvements to and around the circuit, track officials have announced the remodeling project is well within schedule! It only seems appropriate to recap the sport’s biggest moments in Mexico!

As the name suggests, the history of Mexico's Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez is interwoven with the brothers Ricardo and Pedro Rodriguez. Ricardo's emergence in the sport prompted the decision to build the 5-kilometre circuit in the public Magdalena Mixhuca Park in Mexico City.

Mexican Grand Prix 1968Igniting a Spark 

It is no secret Mexico has a fiery passion for auto racing - and always has - ever since Pedro and Ricardo Rodriguez stormed onto the Grand Prix scene and immediately stunned everyone with their skill and courage. Pedro's success in Europe ignited the spark in his home country to latch onto what was happening in the world of motor sports.

1959 – The Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez (then known as the Magdalena Mixhuca Circuit) was constructed.

1962 – The first Mexico Grand Prix took place on Nov. 4, 1962, at Magdalena Mixhuca. The 60-turn race was won by Jim Clark and Trevor Taylor, who drove as a team in a Lotus 25. The race, however, was over-shadowed by the horrific accident of Mexican driver, Ricardo Rodríguez.

Rough Start

Pedro Rodriguez 1966

The Rodriguez's journey into F1™ stardom was riddled with tragic challenges, including death. During a non-championship event, Ferrari, which Ricardo Rodriguez was a driver for, decided it would not attend the event and Ricardo entered in a Rob Walker-run Lotus 24. In qualifying, Ricardo's Lotus' rear suspension failed at the infamous Peraltada corner, where he crashed and lost his life.

1963 – Mexican President Lopez Mateos changed the name of the track to Autodromo Ricardo Rodriguez in honor of the Mexican driver’s life. The public quickly found a new hero in Pedro Rodriguez as he had already established himself in international auto racing.

1970 –The Mexican Grand Prix on Oct. 25, 1970, would mark the end of the first phase of Formula 1™ in Mexico. The race was won by Jacky Ickx of Ferrari. Mexican driver, Pedro Rodriguez, finished in sixth place. After eight consecutive years, the curtains closed on F1™ in Mexico.

1971 - Pedro Rodriguez died in an Interserie sports car race at the Norisring Circuit in Nuremberg, Germany.

Remembering Legends 

Never before in Mexico's history has the entire country rallied behind two people so earnestly. The country was enthralled with the Rodriguez brothers and considered them to be two of the most promising drivers ever to grace the sport.

1972 - In 1972, Mexican President Echeverría changed the name of the Autódromo Ricardo Rodriguez to Autódromo Hermanos Rodriguez in honor of the two brothers.

1986 - After a 16-year absence, on Oct. 12, 1986, Formula 1™ made its way back to Mexico. The race was won by Gerhard Berger of Benetton. Other legendary drivers like Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost and Nelson Piquet competed in the second inaugural race.


1992
 – On March 22, 1992, the second race of the championship that year was the last time Mexico would participate in the sport for a while. 

Racewinner Nigel Mansell resized 600

The race was won by English driver, Nigel Mansell of Williams-Renault. Michael Schumacher came in third place.

This proved to be the final Grand Prix held at the circuit – which still hosted a number of national and international championships over the years.

F1 in Mexico Today

2014 – In late July, Mexico announced it would host a round of the 2015 Formula One World Championship in 2015.

The facility began being upgraded, while the entire track would be resurfaced for the occasion, and numerous changess were planned to be made to a number of corners including Peraltada Bend. You can read more about what changes to expect when the race kicks-off in October here>>

2015 – Construction and the remodeling projects have began on the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez track to bring it up to FIA safety standards.

Mexico Grand Prix 3This year will mark the beginning of a new era once again for F1™ in Mexico. Make sure you’re there to be part of history!

Gran Premio de México VIP: Your Ticket to F1's Return!

Gran Premio de México VIP offers Main Grandstand and Stadium Section Official Ticket Packages, as well as Formula One Paddock Club™ Packages to the 2015 Formula 1 Mexican Grand Prix. Each Official Ticket Package includes a variety of amenities ranging from access to the Paddock Club™ facility or the exclusive Legends Club, exclusive meet-and-greet opportunities with drivers and racing legends, access to the Support Race Paddock, VIP Parking, Fast Access Passes, and much more!

Get more information on Official Ticket Packages by calling 844-319-8387 to speak to a representative or visit the Gran Premio de Mexico VIP website. Plan your trip to Mexico today!

 

Learn More About Gran Premio de Mexico VIP Packages!

Join the conversation on social media using the hashtags #MEXICOGPVIP!