The Mexican Grand Prix has been staged at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City twenty times since 1963, most recently returning to the F1 calendar in 2015 after a 20+ year absence.
The first Mexican Grand Prix was held in 1962 on the newly built Magdalena Mixhuca circuit in Mexico City, named after the city park where it was located, which would host track cycling, field hockey, basketball and fencing during the Summer Olympics in 1968. In 1963, the race became part of the Formula 1 World Championship, and was won for the second time in succession by Jim Clark. Sadly, it wasn’t long before the Mexican GP lost its place on the calendar, mainly as a result of its own popularity. The organizers were unable to control the 200,000+ spectators flocking to the event each year, making it dangerous for the drivers. The last event for 16 years was won by Jacky Ickx in 1970 for Ferrari.
The circuit was partially redesigned and renamed Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez (after Ricardo and Pedro Rodriguez, local racing brothers who both lost their lives in racing incidents) for its return to the F1 calendar in 1986. Still featuring the fearsome banked final corner (Peraltada), the circuit proved popular with drivers despite the very bumpy surface. The Mexican Grand Prix produced some exciting racing during this period, but once again fell from favor. The organizers weren’t able to come up with the funds required to modernize the circuit, and Mexico City’s terrible pollution didn’t help.
After a 23-year hiatus, Formula 1 returned to Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in 2015. The circuit was comprehensively redesigned by Hermann Tilke ahead of F1’s return; the main change saw a slow-speed ‘stadium section’ added, cutting off half of the infamous Peraltada final corner. The race has been strongly supported by local fans, with sell out attendances. In August 2019, a new deal was announced which secures the future of the event until at least 2022. From 2020, the event will be officially titled the ‘Mexico City Grand Prix’, emphasising the support from the local government.
Mexican Grand Prix: Did you know?
- No driver has won more than two races in Mexico. Four drivers – Jim Clark, Alain Prost, Nigel Mansell, Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton – have won here twice. Verstappen or Hamilton could set a new outright record for Mexican GP wins at the 2020 event.
- Lotus, McLaren, Williams and Mercedes are the most successful teams here, having won three times each. Ferrari and Red Bull, who are currently on two wins apiece, could join that list in 2020.
- At 2,240 meters above sea level, the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez is by far the highest track on the current F1 calendar. Next highest is Brazil at 765 metres. At the other end of the scale, Yas Marina in Abu Dhabi and the Sochi Autodrom are both less than 1 meter above sea level.
- Jim Clark completed a ‘Grand Slam’ at the Mexican GP in 1963, taking pole position, fastest lap and the win, leading every lap of the race.
- In the 1986 Mexico Grand Prix, Gerhard Berger took the first of his 10 Grand Prix wins. Driving a Benetton B186, one of the most powerful F1 cars ever raced, Berger completed the win on one set of Pirelli tires.
- The best result for a Mexican driver in their home Grand Prix is fourth place, scored by Pedro Rodriguez in 1968. Read more about Mexico’s Home Race Heroes here.
- In 2015, the final turn on the redesigned circuit was named after Nigel Mansell, who won the Mexico Grand Prix twice (1987 and 1992).
- Lewis Hamilton is the only driver to have won the title at the Mexican Grand Prix twice, having done so in 2017 and 2018. John Surtees, Denny Hulme and Graham Hill are the other drivers to have taken title victories at the circuit.
- In 2018, Max Verstappen became the first driver to win the Mexican Grand Prix in consecutive years.
Memorable Moments in the Mexican Grand Prix
- 1970: Fan invasion: Crowd control was a serious problem at the 1970 Mexican Grand Prix. The 200,000 fans in attendance almost led to the cancellation of the race before it had begun. Jackie Stewart and home star Pedro Rodríguez even took to the track ahead of the Grand Prix to ask fans to stay behind the guard rails. Stewart went on to hit a dog during the race, and with his car out of control, he narrowly avoided a bank where people were sitting to watch the race. Jacky Ickx took the victory, but the race became a victim of its own success and was removed from the calendar
- 1990: Mansell overtakes at Peraltada: The 1990 Mexican Grand Prix saw an epic battle for the final podium places. As Ayrton Senna drove off into the distance and took a comfortable lead, Alain Prost came from 13th on the grid to third, before overtaking Ferrari team-mate Nigel Mansell for second on the road. Prost was soon on the tail of Senna, and took the lead with a handful of laps remaining. A puncture for Senna left Mansell battling with Gerhard Berger. The Englishman pulled off an infamous overtake at the Peraltada corner to secure a 1-2 finish for Ferrari.
- 1991: Senna’s big crash: Ayrton Senna had a incident-filled week ahead of the 1991 Mexican Grand Prix. He turned up to the event with stitches in his head following a jet-ski incident. Then, during qualifying, he attempted to take the Peraltada corner faster than usual and crashed violently as a result. The rare mistake for the Brazilian saw his McLaren spin off and roll, before coming to a stop after hitting a tyre barrier. He was uninjured, and went on to finish third in the race.
- 2016: Vettel’s sweary afternoon: Sebastian Vettel attracted the headlines at the 2016 Mexican Grand Prix following a curse-filled radio rant after the chequered flag. In the latter stages of the race, Vettel became embroiled in a battle with the two Red Bull drivers. As Vettel closed in on the rear of Verstappen for third place, the Red Bull driver cut the first corner and stayed ahead. Disgruntled, Vettel complained about the incident over team radio. Verstappen failed to yield, and Daniel Ricciardo soon caught up to the rear of the Ferrari. Ricciardo attempted to overtake, but Vettel blocked the move. An angry Vettel took to the radio again when the race had finished, with a swear-laden message to the Race Director. Verstappen was handed a time penalty after the race, meaning that Vettel stood on the podium – but a further penalty for Vettel ultimately saw Ricciardo awarded third place!
Mexico Grand Prix Facts
|Circuit Name||Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez|
|Race first held||1962|
|Track Length||4.304km (17 turns)|
|Race Distance||305.354km (71 laps)|
|Lap Record (new layout)||1:18.741, Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes, 2018)|
|2019 Result||1st Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:36:48.904|
|2nd Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) +1.766s|
|3rd Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) +3.553s|