The Turbulent Past of the Grand Prix in Mexico!
Did you know that the most successful driver at the Mexican Grand Prix is Max Verstappen? With three wins, he is closely followed by Nigel Mansell and Alain Prost. But did you also know that this track does not have the smoothest of histories?
Once feared for its Peraltada corner, it has dropped on and off the schedule over its tenure. Read on as we provide all the Mexican Grand Prix facts you need to know.
Mexico Grand Prix History
The Mexican Grand Prix has an illustrious history, dating back to 1962. Held at the Magdalena Mixhuca circuit, it was situated in the suburbs of Mexico City. Named after the park it was located in, the location would go on to host several other sports during the 1968 Olympics.
Although the inaugural race was not given championship status, many of the racing stars of the time from Europe and the US still took part. However, it was a sad occasion as local driver Ricardo Rodríguez crashed during practice and died. Several days of national mourning meant the race never got the full attention from the locals it deserved.
1963 to 1970
In 1963, the race became part of the championship calendar. In this first official year, it was the penultimate race of the season and was won for the second time in a row by Jim Clark. He dominated, taking pole position and leading for the whole race.
One of the most exciting races would occur in the following year. 1964 would see Graham Hill, John Surtees, and Jim Clark battling for the championship in the final race of the season.
With Clark's engine seizures taking him out, Ferrari asked their driver Lorenzo Bandini to let teammate John Surtees into the second position. This was enough for him to win the championship by one point.
The history of the Mexican Grand Prix would repeat in 1968 with another three-way battle. Racing legends Jackie Stewart and Denny Hulme would be out of the race due to crashes and engine failure, leaving Graham Hill free to win the race and championship.
In the proceeding years, motorsport would become huge in Mexico. It became so big that its popularity would contribute to it losing its place on the calendar.
The 1970 Grand Prix saw 200,000 fans descend on the track. Spilling onto the course, the race was almost cancelled. When it did start, a stray dog caused the early retirement of driver Jackie Stewart and there would be no Mexican Grand Prix for 16 years.
Return of the Mexican Grand Prix
1986 was the year that the Mexican Grand Prix would make its return. The city had suffered a huge earthquake the year before. This allowed the Mexican Grand Prix circuit to be rebuilt with better safety and the new name of the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez.
However, the track did still have its faults. The surface remained uneven and the taxing Peraltada corner retained its 180-degree curve.
Notable Grand Prix races in this period included the 1987 event. A shunt brought out the red flag halfway through the race, for Nelson Piquet to win on the restart. Yet, with adjusted time, it was his teammate Nigel Mansell who was awarded the victory.
1992 would be a great time for F1 with Mansell, Senna, and Schumacher all competing. However, the track at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez had become increasingly unstable. Combined with the political situation in Mexico City, it lost its place once again.
The 2015 Comeback
The return of the Mexican Grand Prix was down to millionaire businessman Carlos Slim. He part-funded a redesign of the circuit by Hermann Tilke. A newly laid track and a stadium section in place of the fearsome Peraltada corner meant it was ready to go after a 23-year hiatus.
Nico Rosberg won this first race for Mercedes. 2017 would see Hamilton take the championship despite finishing ninth with two races to go. Both the 2018 and 2019 Grand Prix at the track would be pivotal in his championship wins.
Mexican Grand Prix Facts
The first Grand Prix in Mexico was the last time a win was shared by two drivers. When driver Jim Clark's Lotus suffered mechanical failure, he took over the car of teammate Trevor Taylor and went on to win the race.
In 1967 Denny Hulme would become the only New Zealander to win a title, which was decided at the Mexican Grand Prix. He was one of the only drivers never to score a pole position in a winning title year until Niki Lauder in 1984.
Pedro Rodriguez was Mexico's first-ever race winner in the 1967 South African Grand Prix. Tragically, just like his brother, he would lose his life in a race four years later. The Magdalena Mixhuca Circuit would then be renamed Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez after the two siblings.
The first post F1 race concert was held at the track after the 2017 race. Dutch DJ Hardwell would perform to fans, drivers, and pit crews alike.
Several teams have had lots of success at the Mexico Grand Prix. McLaren, Williams, Lotus, Mercedes and Red Bull have all won three times each. Ferrari currently has two wins on the track.
Going to the Mexican Grand Prix
Now that you know these Mexican Grand Prix facts, you just need to visit. As well as taking in the race, you can experience the food and culture Mexico has to offer. This year's race is sure to be an experience you won't want to miss.
Grand Prix Adventures should be your first stop for racing excursions. We have many hospitality packages for all this year's meetings. Contact us and let us get you to the trackside in style and comfort.