The 2014 Formula One calendar has just been released,and for the first time since 1992 the sport is set to return to Mexico at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City,with a provisional date of November 9th being set.
The selection of Mexico is no surprise given the positivity surrounding the country at the moment. F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has always taken the sport to the emerging and expanding markets of the time,as displayed by the inclusion of Bahrain,Abu Dhabi,China,India,Malaysia,South Korea and Singapore over the last decade. During this same period of Asian expansion Argentina also lost its race,as the sport moved away from the slow economies of the 1990s Latin America,indeed only Brazil kept its slot on the calendar.
The last few years have seen a marked turnaround in Mexican economic fortunes,however,and The World Bank now notes that the country had strong growth of 3.9% during 2012,supported by a rapidly expanding Mexican middle class. The organisation predicts GDP is expected to grow 3.5% during 2013 with an even greater rate of growth predicted in 2014 as the government implements vast reform of the telecommunications and petroleum industries by growing the levels of private investment and increasing competition.
Ecclestone was close to selecting Cancun as the venue,but ultimately decided on Mexico City,stating,“We were going to do a race in Cancun. We had a contract but they couldn't get the permission they wanted”
Insiders believe it was the “dream team” behind the Mexico City option that won the contract. It appears the three key players were Alejandro Soberon,Tavo Hellmund and Carlos Slim Domit. Soberon is the chief executive of CIE (Corporacion Interamericana de Entretenimiento) and Hellmund is well-known in F1 circles for being the creator and mastermind of the Circuit of the Americas in Austin,Texas,which last year hosted the U.S. Grand Prix after a five year hiatus. Finally,Slim Domit is the son of the world's richest man,Carlos Slim,and has bankrolled current Mexican drivers Sergio Perez and Esteban Gutierrez for many years to get them into an F1 drive.