The Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez is a 4.304 km (2.674 mi) motorsport race track in Mexico City, Mexico, named after the racing drivers Ricardo and Pedro Rodríguez. The circuit got its name shortly after it opened when Ricardo Rodríguez died in practice for the non-Championship 1962 Mexican Grand Prix. Ricardo's brother Pedro was also killed behind the wheel nine years later. Since 2015, the track has once again hosted the Formula One Mexican Grand Prix, an event it previously hosted in two separate periods on a different layout, the last occasion of which was in 1992.

The circuit is located within the public park of the Magdalena Mixhuca Sports City in southeast Mexico City. The circuit is owned by the Government of the City, but is currently operated under concession by Corporación Interamericana de Entretenimiento (CIE) through OCESA, one of CIE's subsidiaries. CIE also organizes the NASCAR and Desafío Corona races in this circuit and rents the circuits to other parties, including race organizers, automobile clubs and track amateurs for fees that are controversial due to their disproportionately high amounts compared to other ex-F1 courses.

The NASCAR Xfinity Series started racing at Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez in the 2005 season and ended in the 2008 season. Martin Truex Jr. won the race in 2005, and Denny Hamlin won in 2006. For the 2007 race, the chicane was removed to increase passing opportunities down the front straight and into turn 1, and Juan Pablo Montoya from Bogotá, Colombia, won the race. Kyle Busch was the winner of the race in 2008.

The A1 Grand Prix series started racing at Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez in the 2006–07 season using the full-track configuration used by Formula One. Alex Yoong from Malaysia won the sprint race and Oliver Jarvis from the United Kingdom won the feature race. In the 2007–08 season, Jonny Reid from New Zealand won the sprint race and Adam Carroll of Team Ireland won the feature race.

History

Aerial view of the circuit, November 1962.

Built in the Magdalena Mixhuca public park in 1959, the circuit hosted its first Formula One Grand Prix in 1962, as a non-Championship race. The following year the Mexican Grand Prix became a full World Championship event. The circuit remained part of the F1 calendar through 1970, when spectator overcrowding caused unsafe conditions. When F1 returned in 1986, the circuit boasted a new pit complex, as well as improved safety all around. In 2001 CIE and Forsythe Racing tasked D3 Motorsport Development with revamping the circuit. A redesign to include the Foro and a complete upgrade of the circuit was done. It saw a record crowd of 402,413 people attend a round of the CART Championship in 2002. As of 2019, the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez has been the only venue for the F1 Mexican Grand Prix.

It was announced in May 2012, that the circuit would again host the Mexican Grand Prix from 2013, in a five-year deal that would see it replace the European Grand Prix in Valencia,[2] but this did not happen. The FIA listed the Mexican Grand Prix as the 19th round of the provisional schedule for the 2014 season,[3] but it was not on the finalized schedule. The Mexican Grand Prix was listed on the 2015 Formula One calendar published by the FIA on 3 December 2014, with Formula One making its return to the circuit with the race on 1 November 2015.[4]

The racetrack is also home to Insomnniacs Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC Mexico), a music festival attended by over 200,000 people.[5]

The Grand Prix circuit

Satellite view of the circuit, as it appeared in 2018
Grand-Am Rolex Series taking a bypass from turn 4 to turn 8

Designed as his thesis by student Óscar Fernández in 1953,[6] the circuit has an elevation of 2,238 m (7,342 ft); the thin air causes difficulties for both the drivers and their cars.[citation needed] It also reduces the levels of aerodynamic drag that cars experience, meaning that higher downforce setups can be used with less impact on straight-line speed.[7]

The circuit has an extremely fast final corner (the Peraltada, turn 17) before a long start/finish straight, and thus reminded some of Monza; however, unlike Monza's Parabolica curve, the Peraltada curve is slightly banked, allowing even more speed through the corner. It was at this corner that the younger Rodríguez crashed, due to suspension failure. After the last F1 Mexican Grand Prix in 1992, a baseball stadium called the "Foro" was built on the inner part of this curve. When the Champ Car series began using the track in 2002, the Peraltada curve was partially bypassed by a series of sharp turns entering and exiting the Foro; re-entering the Peraltada halfway through.

After the Peraltada comes the long 1.2 km front straight. During the original turbo era in Formula One the faster cars were regularly clocking speeds of up to 330 km/h (205 mph) on the straight.

In the 2005 NASCAR Busch Series season, there was a chicane on the main straightaway to slow the cars down. They also introduced a curve between the short course and the Ese del Lago to bypass the latter, but avoiding the stadium detour.

The Grand Prix circuit underwent a significant renovation under the direction of Hermann Tilke for the return of Formula One in 2015. The front straight was slightly extended and reprofiled to accommodate a new media center and paddock. The iconic esses between turns 7 and 13 were significantly modified; the prolific, high radius turns largely diminished and some replaced with fixed angle turns. The baseball field portion of the track was also altered to a low-speed left-right combination that bypassed the first half of the Peraltada, allowing the cars to re-enter the Peraltada halfway through the corner. At 4.304 kilometres (2.674 mi), the course is 170 metres (560 ft) shorter than the previous Grand Prix layout, and Mexican Grand Prix organisers predicted lap times of around 75 seconds and speeds in excess of 328 km/h (204 mph) for the current turbocharged Formula One cars, which eliminate the adverse effects of altitude present in naturally aspirated cars.[1] However, the modern V6 hybrid turbo F1 cars actually managed to reach top speeds in excess of 370 km/h (230 mph) down the main straight.

Layout history

Oval track

The circuit also features an oval layout due to the inclusion of a flat turn that goes from the middle of the main straight to the beginning of the backstretch of circuit. Unlike the road course, the oval is raced in counter-clockwise direction (except for the Formula E race).

The oval configuration of this Mexico City facility is arguably the most dangerous racetrack in Mexico, because of the limited visibility at the exit of turns 2 and 4. This is because the Foro Sol baseball stadium is located inside turns 1 and 2; and several trees are located inside turns 3 and 4.

During the 2006 season, two accidents occurred in the oval track during NASCAR Mexico T4 Series events, which took several drivers out of the race, with some needing hospital treatment.

The oval configuration is used at least twice a year, with two double-feature events featuring the NASCAR Toyota Series and the NASCAR Mexico T4 Series.

The oval configuration also forms the base of the FIA Formula E Championship circuit for the Mexico City ePrix; the oval is raced clockwise, but there is a chicane prior to the entrance of turn 4, with a second chicane on the backstretch, followed by a modified Foro Sol section that exits for the full Peraltada, and a third chicane midway through the Peraltada (turns 1 and 2 of the oval). FIA Formula E track design was modified by Agustin Delicado Zomeño. Starting from season 3 (2016–2017), the first chicane is removed and now it is a right-hand corner.

In season 6, the track is extended and the two chicanes at the back straight and the Peraltada are removed. The track also uses more of the Formula 1 layout. After turn 2 (Formula E track), the track will turn left instead of right and the extended part includes a 4-turn sequence before going back to the original circuit and the stadium section.

Renamed turns

Before the 1986 Formula One race, the first turn (now turns 1-3) was named in honor of Moisés Solana, Mexico's third F1 driver. It is still called Ese Moisés Solana, often referred to as the "Solana Complex" in English.

In September 2002, Mexico's fourth and, then, last F1 driver Héctor Alonso Rebaque a.k.a. Héctor Rebaque's achievements both in F1 and CART were recognised by naming turn 6 of the Autodromo in his honour and calling it Recorte Rebaque instead of the previous name of Recorte de Gran Premio.

In 2015 the turn 17 of the Autodromo Hermanos Rodríguez was baptized in honour of Formula One legend Nigel Mansell, twice winner of the Mexican Grand Prix of 1987 and 1992 and the scene of his daring pass around the outside of Gerhard Berger in 1990.[8]

On September 20, 2016 Adrián Fernández's achievements have been recognized by the naming of turn 12 of the Autodromo in his honour.[9]

Series hosted

The track hosts the FIA Formula One World Championship (Mexican Grand Prix) and the FIA Formula E World Championship (Mexico City ePrix). It also hosts the and series.

Lap Records

The official lap record for the current circuit layout is 1:18.741, set by Valtteri Bottas during the 2018 Mexican Grand Prix. While the unofficial all-time track record is 1:14.758, set by Max Verstappen during final qualifying of the 2019 Mexican Grand Prix. The official race lap records at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez are listed as:

Category Time Driver Vehicle Event
Current Grand Prix Circuit: 4.304 km (2015–present)
Formula One 1:18.741 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+ 2018 Mexican Grand Prix
LMP1 1:25.730[10] Brendon Hartley Porsche 919 Hybrid 2017 6 Hours of Mexico
Formula V8 1:32.144[11] Matevos Isaakyan Dallara T12 2017 Mexico City Formula V8 3.5 round
LMP2 1:33.670[10] Bruno Senna Oreca 07 2017 6 Hours of Mexico
LM GTE 1:40.212[10] Sam Bird Ferrari 488 GTE 2017 6 Hours of Mexico
GT3 1:43.593[12] Thomas Preining Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (Type 991 II) 2018 2nd Mexico City Porsche Supercup round
Formula 4 1:46.087[13] Mygale M14-F4 2017 1st Mexico City NACAM F4 round
Extended Formula E Circuit: 2.606 km (2020–present)
Formula E 1:10.520 Alexander Sims BMW iFE.20 2020 Mexico City ePrix
Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy 1:25.045[14] Cacá Bueno Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy (racecar) 2020 Mexico City Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy round
Original Formula E Circuit: 2.093 km (2016-2019)
Formula E 1:01.112 Pascal Wehrlein Mahindra M5Electro 2019 Mexico City ePrix
Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy 1:15.516[15] Bryan Sellers Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy (racecar) 2019 Mexico City Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy round
Modified Grand Prix Circuit: 4.421 km (1986-2014)
Formula One 1:16.788 Nigel Mansell Williams FW14 1991 Mexican Grand Prix
Group C 1:21.611 Michael Schumacher Mercedes-Benz C291 1991 430 km of Mexico City
C2 1:31.929[16] Chris Hodgetts Spice SE87C 1989 480 km of Mexico
Champ Car/A1 GP Grand Prix Circuit (Modified Grand Prix Circuit with chicane): 4.463 km (2006–2008)
A1 GP 1:21.417 Oliver Jarvis Lola B05/52 2007–08 A1 Grand Prix of Nations, Mexico
Champ Car 1:24.713 Robert Doornbos Panoz DP01 2007 Gran Premio Tecate
CART/Champ Car Grand Prix Circuit (Modified Grand Prix Circuit with Foro Sol): 4.484 km (2002–2005)
CART 1:27.248 Shinji Nakano Lola B2/00 2002 Gran Premio Telmex-Gigante
Champ Car 1:28.479 Justin Wilson Lola B2/00 2005 Gran Premio Telmex/Tecate
Daytona Prototype 1:45.331[17] Max Angelelli Riley Mk XI 2005 Mexico City 250
Grand Touring 1:54.099[17] Bill Auberlen BMW M3 (E46) GTR 2005 Mexico City 250
NASCAR Circuit: 4.052 km (2005-2014)
Daytona Prototype 1:20.521[18] Alex Gurney Riley Mk XX 2008 Mexico City 250
NASCAR Nationwide Series 1:27.458 Scott Pruett Dodge Charger NASCAR 2007 Telcel-Motorola Mexico 200
Original Grand Prix Circuit: 5.000 km (1959-1985)
Formula One 1:43.050 Jacky Ickx Brabham BT26A 1969 Mexican Grand Prix

The baseball stadium

The Autódromo includes a baseball stadium inside turn 14 (Peraltada). The stadium, called Foro Sol, was home to the Diablos Rojos del México and also hosts music concerts. Some of the artists who played there include Iron Maiden, Paul McCartney, Metallica, Pink Floyd, Santana, The Rolling Stones, Madonna, Stone Temple Pilots, Nine Inch Nails, U2, and Radiohead.

References

  1. ^ a b c d "FORMULA 1 GRAN PREMIO DE MÉXICO 2015". Archived from the original on 15 October 2015. Retrieved 10 October 2015.
  2. ^ "México tendrá gran premio ya para 2013". MARCA.com. Retrieved 30 May 2012.
  3. ^ "2014 Calendar draft has 21 races including Mexico". f1fanatic.co.uk. Retrieved 5 September 2013.
  4. ^ "World Motor Sport Council 2014 - Doha". FIA. 3 December 2014. Archived from the original on 19 March 2015. Retrieved 22 December 2014.
  5. ^ "TRAVEL - EDC Mexico 2018". electricdaisycarnival.com. Retrieved 13 February 2018.
  6. ^ "Mexican circuit designed by a student will be examination for Mercedes". The Guardian. 26 October 2019. Retrieved 27 October 2019.
  7. ^ Holding, Joe (7 April 2021). "High-downforce tracks vs power tracks in F1 – differences explained". Autosport. Retrieved 7 April 2021.
  8. ^ "Mexico names final corner after Nigel Mansell". formula1.com. Retrieved 13 February 2018.
  9. ^ "Adrian Fernandez has corner named after him in Mexico City". motorsport.com. Retrieved 13 February 2018.
  10. ^ a b c "2017 6 Hours of Mexico Final Classification By Class" (PDF). Retrieved 15 March 2021.
  11. ^ "2017 World Series Formula V8 3.5 Mexico City Session Facts". Retrieved 15 March 2021.
  12. ^ "2018 FORMULA 1 GRAN PREMIO DE MEXICO, Mexico City (Rounds 9+10)". Retrieved 15 March 2021.
  13. ^ "F4 Nacam Championship 6 Hours of Mexico Race 2 (26' +1 lap) Final Classification" (PDF). Retrieved 17 May 2021.
  14. ^ "Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY Series Round 3 - Mexico City ePrix Race (25' +1 Lap) Final Classification". Retrieved 13 May 2021.
  15. ^ "Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY Series Round 2 - Mexico City ePrix Race (25' +1 Lap) Final Classification". Retrieved 13 May 2021.
  16. ^ "World Sports Prototype Championship Mexico 1989". Retrieved 17 May 2021.
  17. ^ a b "250 mile Mexico 2005". Retrieved 17 May 2021.
  18. ^ "250 mile Mexico 2008". Retrieved 17 May 2021.

External links