Mexican Grand Prix

Mexican Grand Prix

Mexican Grand Prix

Venue: Autódromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Mexico City, Mexico

Circuit Length: 4.304 km (2.674 miles)

Number of Laps: 71

Race Distance: 305.354 km (189.738 miles)

Orientation: Clockwise

Longest Flat out section: 1200m (0.7456 miles)

Lap Record: 1:18.741, Valtteri Botas, Mercedes AMG, 2018

The Mexican Grand Prix

The Mexican Grand Prix is one of the most popular destinations for race fans. The bonhomie of the locals and the colourful fiesta-like atmosphere of Mexico City make it an ideal venue for an extended racing weekend.

The historical sites in close proximity of the capital city of Mexico and the themed events organised at the park where the venue is located, make the Grand Prix a must-visit race.

The Mexican Grand Prix has won the Race Promoters’ Trophy- “F1’s Event of the Year” for five years in a row since it restarted in 2015 after a 21 year long hiatus.

The idea for the circuit came from Pedro Natalio Rodriguez in 1958. As an advisor to the then Mexican President, Don Pedro suggested using the internal roads of the Magdalena Mixhuca Sports city to lay an automobile race track.

His intention was to enable his two sons and other Mexican racing stars to perform before their home crowd. Little did he know that he would lose both his sons in automobile racing accidents.

Ricardo, the younger son, died in a practice session on the Magdalena Mixhuca circuit in 1992 the inaugural year of the track when an unofficial Grand Prix was staged. Pedro died in a racing accident in Germany in 1971.

1962 to 1970

The Mexican Grand Prix was first held as an auto race in 1962 on the Magdalena Mixhuca circuit without the blessings of the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile).

The unofficial race held in 1962 saw strong international entries and Jim Clarke of Britain won the Grand Prix for Team Lotus amidst ferocious competition.

Unfortunately a young Mexican driver, Ricardo Rodriguez was killed during practice. He crashed on the notorious Peraltada corner in a Lotus 24. He was the elder son of Don Pedro Natalio Rodriguez, the man who suggested that the circuit be built.

The FIA sanctioned the first F1 Grand Prix in Mexico in 1963 and Jim Clarke won the race again driving a Lotus-Climax. The circuit, built in a park in almost the centre of Mexico City, was then called Magdalena Mixhuca circuit.

Held late in October, the Mexican Grand Prix was always the finale to the Grand Prix season. This saw many battles for both the Drivers’ and the Constructors’ Championship from 1963 to 1970.

There was a crowd control problem in 1968 and 1970. The track was bumpy to start with, and built on actively shifting soils, it became bumpier over the years.

The lightly banked fast Peraldata corner just before the lap finish was also of concern. Pedro Rodriguez, brother of Ricardo Rodriguez, lost his life while racing in an Interserie sports car race in Nuremberg, Germany in early 1971.

The death of Pedro Rodriguez coupled with organisational problems caused FIA to abandon plans for the Mexican Grand Prix in 1971. It would be another 16 years before F1 racing would come back to Mexico.

1986 to 1992

After a number of attempts to bring back the Grand Prix to Mexico, the circuit was rebuilt with a slightly shorter track. The Peraltada curve’s banking was improved. The organisation was also improved for better crowd control.

The circuit was already renamed as Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez in honour of the two dead brothers and Mexican racing heroes, Ricardo and Pedro.

In 1986 the Grand Prix returned to Mexico and the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez (Rodriguez Brothers’ Autodrome). Racing fans in Mexico were delighted.

Austrian Gerhard Berger won the inaugural race on Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, his first Grand Prix win. The 1987 race was run in two parts after Briton, Derek Warwick crashed coming out of the Peraltada curve.

The race was won by Nigel Mansell of Britain over Nelson Piquet (Portuguese) by way of having led Piquet by 30 seconds before the race was stopped midway. The track was still bumpy and the banking on the Peralta was not good enough.

The Mexican Grand Prix was shifted to the warmer and wetter climate of May in 1988. The first two years saw Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna winning the races in their McLarens.

In 1990, the race was shifted to late June and saw Prost, now driving a Ferrari, winning the race. Ayrton Senna, Prost’s rival suffered a puncture which turned into shredded tyres and a damaged suspension. This cut him out of the race.

In 1991, Senna crashed at the Peralta during practice. Although he was declared fit to compete in the race and finished third, he and other drivers severely criticised the bumpy track.

The race was moved forward to March in 1992 but Mexico City’s pollution levels reached dangerous proportions in February that year.

Strict pollution control by the government and hurried improvement to the track demanded by FISA, saw a doubtful race take place.

Senna had another accident in 1992, which he blamed on the bumpy surface of the track. Accompanied by the state of the track and the uncontrolled population increase of Mexico city saw Formula One omit the Mexican Grand Prix from the next F1 calendar year.

2015 to 2019

In the intervening years, there were many attempts to get the Formula One Grand Prix back to Mexico. A much-modified circuit saw Champ Cars racing for the unofficial Mexico Grand Prix from 2002 to 2007.

In 2014, Carlos Slim revealed his intentions for getting Formula one back to Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez. With the backing of the city administration, Formula One returned to Mexico and the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez in 2015.

A re-laid track and cutting the Peraltada in half saw Nico Rosberg winning the Grand Prix in 2015 in his Mercedes.

While Lewis Hamilton won the race in 2016 and in 2019 driving a Mercedes, Max Verstappen took the titles in 2017 and in 2018 for the Red Bull Racing-Tag Heuer team.

In May 2019 the Mayor of Mexico City announced that the 2019 Grand Prix would be the last F1 race to be held at the autodrome because of financial reasons.

However, in August that year, the FIA confirmed that the race would be held at Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez till 2022.

Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic intervened resulting in the cancellation of the Mexican Grand Prix along with all the Grands Prix in North and South America.

Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez

Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez translates litterally as the “autodrome of the Rodriguez brothers”, the two revered Mexican auto racing brothers.

The highest altitude F1 circuit in the world

The Mexican Grand Prix circuit is at an altitude of 2,250 above sea level, the highest of any F1 circuit yet. The rarity of air at this altitude creates its own problems for both the competing cars and the drivers.

With the air 25% less dense than it is at mean sea level, the down force on the car is less giving the car less grip on the tarmac. This reduces the braking efficiency of the car.

Rarer air also means less drag, resulting in greater speeds for the cars for the same amount of fuel consumed.

Add to that that the turbo has to turn at a faster rpm to supply the required air to the engine for optimum combustion.

The drivers get exhausted earlier because of the lesser oxygen supply to their lungs from the thinner air. They are hard-pressed to concentrate and avoid errors which might cost them the race.

That is why the results of the races at the Mexico Grand Prix vary greatly from the general trend of the F1 Grand Prix calendar.

Much changed circuit from the original

The Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez circuit is much changed from the original track which was 5 kilometres long. The length of the circuit is now  4.304 km.

Herman Tilke redesigned the whole circuit to open up the turns 1, 2 and 3 and introduced the Fero Sol “S” curve to cut the Peraltada curve almost in half and slow it down before the end of the lap.

While retaining the general outline of the original course, the circuit was substantially realigned. The whole track was re-laid and new spectator stands were erected around the circuit.

Totally new pit and paddock facilities were erected and the lap finished through the Fero Sol stadium and the Peralta curve.

An exuberant crowd of 134,845 witnessed the inaugural race on the newly designed track in 2015. The overall attendance for the weekend was 336, 174.

The organisers have won every Race Promoters’ Trophy or the “F1 event of the year” since 2015.

The Circuit

The redesigned circuit looks almost like a handgun with the muzzle pointing due west. The tip of the muzzle is the Peraltada curve.

Slightly banked the Peraltada curve has been the scene of many accidents during the practice sessions as well as the race.

Coming out of the curve, the cars hit the 1.2 kilometres straight just 200 meters before the start/finish line. Naturally, most drivers feel the urge to press on the throttle pedal to build up speed for the longest straight.

It was the curve that cost the young Ricardo Rodriguez his life in 1992 and caused Ayrton Senna to crash during the qualifiers in 1991.

Herman Tilke extended the front straight slightly to accommodate a new media centre and paddock. The high radius turns from turn 7 to turn 13 were mostly converted to fixed angle turns.

A left right combination was introduced in the baseball field section cutting the original Peraltada curve almost into half.

Today’s V6 hybrid turbo race cars regularly exceed speeds of 370 km/h along the main straight.

Why attend the Mexican Grand Prix

If you are planning to go to the Mexican Grand Prix, make sure that you spare the week to explore Mexico City and the historical sites around.

The city itself has so much to offer. There’s the Metropolitan Cathedral, Plaza de la Constitucion, the National Palace, the Palace of Fine Arts are close by. The archaeological sites and the pyramid cities are almost on the outskirts of the city.

The fiesta-like atmosphere at the autodrome is electric over the racing weekend. The colourfully dressed, affable and vociferous local fans will vie for your attention as much as the race itself.

Most drivers adore the venue because of the opportunity it affords for overtaking on the straights and even on the curves.

The high altitude of the circuit, at 2250 meters above sea level, evens out the playing field by giving every driver a chance at winning the race.

The paddock hosts themed festivals every Grand Prix which are a treat in themselves. That is why the Mexican Grand Prix has been selected as the top F1 event of the year for five years in a row.

How to get there

Benito Juarez International Airport, Mexico City’s main airport is just 10 km away from the city centre. It is connected to most of the world’s major cities by either direct or by connecting flights.

The quickest and cheapest way to get to the city from the airport is by the Metro. While the Terminal Aérea station is just next to Terminal 1 of the airport, a walk of just over half a kilometre will get you to the Pantitlán station.

You can also hop into a white and yellow licenced airport taxi. These taxis have black aeroplane logos on their doors and charge between 100 to 300 pesos depending on the size of the taxi and where you are headed to.

Taking the metro to the track and back is much faster than taking a taxi. Plenty of taxis and busses are available during a race weekend and the fares are cheap.

If you are using the Metro, it is best to buy a return ticket to avoid the queue at the ticket machines when returning from the race. Traffic jams are routine and delay taxis and busses to and from the circuit.

Where to stay in Mexico City

The high costs of the tickets for the race are more than made up by the cheap lodging and boarding available in Mexico City over the race days.

Even though the rates increase slightly during the racing weekend, there is no need to pre-book accommodation.

Centro Historico located in the heart of Mexico City, is close to the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez and is the best place to stay while visiting the city.

The bustling and vibrant city offers accommodation for all budgets from B&B and luxury chain hotels to apartments on rent.

Among the 300 odd neighbourhoods in Mexico City to choose from, Centro Historico is the cultural centre of the city and is a fascinating area to be in.

The metro station is located close by and busses and taxis abound to travel to the race venue during the race days. Tours are also conducted to the historical sites close by accompanied by professional guides.

Tickets for the Mexican Grand Prix

Since the Mexican Grand Prix 2020 has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic we will give the prices of the 2019 Mexican Grand Prix tickets.

This page will be updated when the dates for the Mexico City Grand Prix 2021 are released and the tickets announced.

Despite the announcement by the Mexico City mayor that the 2019 Grand Prix will be the last Grand Prix in the city, FIA has confirmed that the race will be held in the city till 2022.

As one of the most popular race venues and cities in the world the tickets for the event get sold out quickly. It is best to book seats in the choicest stands early to avoid disappointment.

We recommend visiting Motorsport Tickets for Mexican Grand Prix tickets.

Approximate tickets prices for the 2021 Mexican Grand Prix:

TypeZonePrice in USD
Main Grandstand 1Green$1500
Gold 3Blue$530
Gold 4Blue$590
Gold 5Blue$590
Grada 6Blue$530
General Admission 6ABlue$260
Platinum 9Yellow$690
Platinum 10Yellow$740
Platinum 11Yellow$690
Grada 14 (Foro Sol Sur)Grey$440
Grada 15 (Foro Sol Norte)Brown$350
  • All tickets are valid for three days
  • Please note that you are not allowed re-entry to the arena on the same day once you leave.
  • You cannot carry outside foodstuffs or liquids inside the venue.
  • Children below 4 years of age are allowed entry but are not allowed to take a seat.
  • There is no discount for children above 4 years and all children aged 18 and below must be accompanied by an adult.

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Best places to watch the Mexican Grand Prix

The whole arena with a capacity of 110,000 spectators is filled with colourfully dressed local racing fans. The air is fun-filled and a fiesta-like atmosphere prevails across all stands.

Because of the unrivalled atmosphere and the great view of the most challenging part of the circuit, the seats in Stadium Grandstands Garda 14 and 15 offer the best value for money. The stands also afford you a grand view of the podium ceremony after the race. 

The Grada 14 seaats give the choicest view of the podium ceremony. Even the lowest seats in the stand gives one fence-free view of the circuit. It gives ample opportunity to F1 photographers to get their choicest shots as the cars are at their slowest in this section of the track.

The blue zone which covers the first three 3 turns from the start is where all the action of the race takes place and there are four stands in this area.

Of the stands, Gold 3, 4, 5 and 6, Gold 5 is a stand that is the furthest from the track. But due to its panoramic view of the whole section, it rates among one of the best stands on the circuit.

The General Admission Grandstand 6A offers the cheapest seats. But it lies on the shorter straight. Although the atmosphere is good here too,it would be preferable to opt for a costlier seat in one of the four stands mentioned above for a better piece of the action.

The Platinum Grandstands 9. 10 and 11 are located in the yellow zone and take in turns 4, 5 and 6. For the action on display in the yellow section, the stands are priced too high. But if you will, opt for Platinum 10 Grandstand.

Interesting facts about the Mexican Grand Prix

  • No driver has won the Mexican Grand Prix more than twice. JIm Clark (1963, 1967), Alain Prost (1988, 1990), Max Verstappen (2017, 2018) and Lewis Hamilton (2016, 2018) have won twice each.
  • Both Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen have a chance to set a new record in 2021 as the race in 2020 has been cancelled.
  • Lotus, McLaren, Williams and Mercedes has won at the Mexican Grand Prix three times each while Ferrari and Red Bull at two apiece, could join the club in 2021.
  • Although John Surtees, Denny Hulme and Graham Hill have all won their World Driver’s Championship at the Mexican Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton is the only driver to have done it twice. He won the championship on the circuit in 2017 and in 2019.
  • Max Verstappen is the only driver to have won the Mexican Grand Prix in consecutive years. He won the races in 2017 and in 2018.

Winners of the Mexican F1 Grand Prix

1963Jim ClarkGreat BritainLotus-ClimaxMagdelena Mixhuca
1964Dan GurneyUSABrabham-ClimaxMagdalena Mixhuca
1965Richie GintherUSAHondaMagdelena Mixhuca
1966John SurteesGreat BritainCooper-MaseratiMagdalena Mixhuca
1967Jim ClarkGreat BritainLotus-FordMagdelena Mixhuca
1968Graham HillGreat BritainLotus-FordMagdalena Mixhuca
1969Danny HulmeNew ZealandMcLaren-FordMagdelena Mixhuca
1970Jacky IckxBelgiumFerrariMagdalena Mixhuca
1971-1985Races not held
1986Gerhard BergerAustriaBenetton-BMWHermanos Rodriguez
1987Nigel MansellGreat BritainWilliams-RenaultHermanos Rodriguez
1988Alain ProstFranceMcLaren-Honda 
1989Ayrton SennaBrazilMcLaren Honda 
1990Alain ProstFranceFerrari 
1991Ricardo PatreseItalyWilliams-Renault 
1992Nigel MansellGreat BritainWilliams-Renault 
1993-20014Races not held
2015Nico RosbergGermanyMercedes 
2016Lewis HamiltonGreat BritainMercedes 
2017Max VerstappenHollandRed Bull Racing-Tag Hauer 
2018Max VerstappenHollandRed Bull Racing-Tag Hauer 
2019Lewis HamiltonGreat BritainMercedes