SPEEDING UP TO ELEVEN

Mexico 2015 | TOURISM | FOCUS: FORMULA ONE

After 23 years, Mexico will again host a Formula One Grand Prix. Watched by millions, the race is a unique opportunity for the country to showcase its quickening growth to the world.

The event will take place in November at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez circuit, a 4,484km track, where drivers and teams will compete for the Formula One World Championship in the third to last race of the season. Hence, the new champion might come out from the Mexican race.

“I am sure it will be a success because it is a very passionate country", the Spanish driver Fernando Alonso told the Mexican media during a visit in November 2014.
Alonso, twice world champion, is part of the Ferrari team. He drove around the race track to look survey the refurbishment that the circuit needs in order to comply with the tournament's rules.
Operated under concession through OCESA, a subsidiary of the company Grupo CIE, the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez was inaugurated in 1959 and has hosted five Formula One GPs but it had never been remodeled since then.

The company torn down the old stands and is building new ones, in addition to building a brand new pit stop and modifying some parts of the track. The refurbishment will cost around $50 million, and should be completed about 90 days before the race.

Bringing Formula One back to Mexico will require an investment of $360 million over the next five years—$210 million spent by the Federal Government and $150 came from Grupo CIE. The Mexican GP will take place every year until 2020 and it will be the largest tourism event for the country.

Over the next five years, the race will generate about $2 billion, and will create nearly 18,000 direct and indirect jobs according to the Secretary of Tourism.

The organizers expect that over 100,000 domestic and international tourists will visit the capital that weekend. Not everyone will have a ticket, thus many fans will visit the city to enjoy the Formula One atmosphere. Their activities will increase service sector activities, and hotels, restaurants, and stores will need to hire more employees to cope with the demand.

Tickets for the GP were sold out quickly despite the high prices, which ranged from around $100 to $1,200. Subsequently, ticket resale skyrocketed to $26,000. Fortunately, more thrifty fans will be able to follow the event on TV. About 400 million people watch Formula One races worldwide and the TV rights will be another important source of income for the organizers.

“Millions of people will watch the race and get the impression that Mexico is much more than what they think," the CEO of Pirelli in Mexico, Tomás Grávalos, told TBY adding that the event is so important in the country that “even those who are not big sports fans" will follow it.

Pirelli, one of the sponsors of this GP, is a “strong" believer of Mexico's economy and, since 2012, has had a manufacturing plant in Guanajuato. By 2017 this plant will produce about six million tires a year. The plant exports about 85% of its production to the US and Canada and Grávalos proudly guarantees that around 30% of its suppliers in Mexico are local companies.

In that regard, the CEO thinks that the race is an opportunity for to showcase its high-speed industry. Furthermore he is pleased that the Mexican pilot Checo Pérez, who drives for the Force India motor team, will be able to compete in a Formula One race in the country for the first time in his life.

Grávalos won't venture who will win the GP. “What is certain is that we will win the race," he joked, as the company is the only supplier of tires to the F1 Championship.