Mexico’s passion for Formula 1 began with the Rodriguez brothers in the early sixties. Pedro and Ricardo Rodriguez both raced in F1 and generated a huge following back home, which led to the inaugural World Championship Mexican Grand Prix in 1963.
The race at the Magdalena Sports City circuit stayed on the calendar until 1979, before returning in ’86 for seven years at the re-named Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez. The race then reappeared on the F1 calendar in 2015.
Fernando Alonso: “It’s very important that we head to Mexico with everybody in our thoughts that has been affected by the recent earthquake, and show them as much support as we possibly can at this really difficult time.
“The welcome we receive in Mexico City is among the best in the world – you can really feel the warmth of the fans all around the circuit, especially in the arena section, and the support is unbelievable. For me, it’s nice to be able to arrive in a country, travel to the hotel and check in using my own language! But seriously, I love Mexico and the Mexican people, and I hope we can put on the show they deserve.
“It will surely be a challenging weekend for us as I’m expecting to start from the back of the grid due to the engine issue we had in Austin. It’s also a track where we often struggle with traffic, which makes overtaking difficult. But, on the positive side, we tested a lot of new components on Friday in the USA which we were very happy with, and we hope to take those forward to use in Mexico.”
Stoffel Vandoorne: “We head to Mexico City very aware of the current situation there and we send all of our support and best wishes to the people of Mexico after such a terrible disaster.
“For McLaren Honda, Mexico will likely be a very tricky race for us because of the long straight and the high altitude, two characteristics which will make things more difficult for us all weekend. As I had to change my PU on race day in Austin, we’re hoping that we won’t have to take penalties on my car in Mexico, but at the moment we’re looking into everything and will wait until Friday to confirm if anything is necessary.
“I last went to Mexico City two years ago and loved the whole experience. We stay downtown and the city is really cool. I remember the awesome atmosphere around the whole track and I’m looking forward to going back there. The fans are amazing and the coolest part of the circuit is the stadium because there are so just many people there. I’ve been preparing to race on this circuit for a while with my engineers in the simulator, and I’m excited to get out on track there for the first time on Friday.”
Eric Boullier, McLaren Honda Racing Director: “Firstly, on behalf of both myself and the whole team, I’d like to send our condolences to the hundreds of people that have been affected by the terrible earthquake in Mexico in September. Mexico City is a place we’ve quickly grown to love visiting, and we hope this coming weekend we can show our solidarity and support for the victims and shine a spotlight on the incredible resilience they’ve shown, as well as recognise the generous hospitality we receive from our Mexican friends every year we visit.
“While I can’t promise victory, we will of course fight for everything we can despite difficult circumstances, as we did in Austin. It’s likely that Fernando will have to take penalties due to the PU issue he faced last weekend, so he is already preparing himself for what will undoubtedly be a spirited fight from the back of the grid. We don’t yet know how the weekend will pan out for Stoffel, but will try to give him the best chance we can at what will be a second new track for him in as many weeks.
“The conditions, too, make it tough for all the teams – it’s often hot and humid in Mexico City, and coupled with the altitude it makes cooling and outright engine performance even more of a challenge than normal. We’ve learned a lot about these characteristics from the past two years we’ve raced there and I hope we can put this to good use next weekend. We aren’t expecting to make a significant dent on the points table this weekend, but we never ever give up, and will give it our all to make the best we can out of this challenging double-header as possible.”
Yusuke Hasegawa, Honda R&D Co. Ltd Head of F1 Project & Executive Chief Engineer: “After a very disappointing weekend in the United States, we’re now crossing the border to Mexico.
“First of all, we would like to express our condolences to the people who lost their lives in the disaster and offer our heartfelt sympathy to all those affected.
“This will be the third year of the Mexican Grand Prix since its return to the Formula 1 calendar. We always enjoy racing in the cheerful Latin atmosphere in front of the fanatic Mexican fans. I also appreciate the warm support from our Honda de Mexico colleagues.
“The Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez is unique in terms of its location with a very high altitude of 2,300m. Due to the thin air, it’s necessary for us to have a totally different approach to extract the power out of the PU compared to other circuits. In addition, the long straight means we’re expecting to face a tough challenge.
“However, the tricky conditions are the same for all the other teams, and we will use the data collected over the past two years to make the best race strategy possible.
“It is obviously a race under very difficult circumstances for the people of Mexico, and we hope to put on a good show for them all.”