Anticipation Builds as Mexico Revs Up for the Return of Formula 1By Fernanda Duque Hernández
The new image of the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.
Every public space and billboard in Mexico City is announcing the imminent return of Formula 1 racing to Mexico City’s Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. But after 22 years of F1 absence, what can be expected of the new look of the Grand Prix Circuit of Mexico?
German architecture firm Tilke GmbH & Co. KG is in charge of the remodeling work of the racetrack, with an estimated investment of up to US $50 million. This includes the redesign of the circuit, paving of the runway, the construction of pits and other adaptations required to achieve Formula 1 statutes of safety and quality.
The Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez is an iconic place in motorsport history. Great runners have competed in this circuit as far back as 1963, including the British Jim Clark, the French Alain Prost and the Brazilian Ayrton Senna.
"The first challenge we had was dealing with the heritage of the track… It can be tricky working with something people know and love,” Christian Epp, director of Tilke America, explained quoted from the Formula 1 website. “But F1 has changed in every aspect over the years, from the cars themselves all the way to the infrastructure. We needed to adapt”.
Changes in the track are already visible. The straight start / finish plotting has been shifted 15 meters to the right to allow a better view from the grandstand at lap 17. This was the only aspect of the old structure which has not been relocated until now.
All the stands are being remodeled because the company has contemplated that the venue will have a capacity for 30,000 people in general admission and 120 000 seated spectators. One of the most iconic racetrack features, a blazing fast corner known as the Peraltada, had to be left out of the new circuit.
"Peraltada was too dangerous,” said Epp. “The [Federation Internationale de l'Automobile] would not allow us to keep it. You would have had cars going in at 320 km/h - it would have been completely nuts.”
Instead of this feature, a new section of racetrack has been designed, which will run through an old baseball field at the former Foro Sol venue.
Further to the repairs of 4,580m of racetrack, work includes the restructuring of 33 garages and a new control tower. Epp stated that most of the work at the Autodromo should be finished by August 1st, which is when the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) will carry out a formal inspection of the venue.
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