Category Archives: Mexico

Formula One: Pérez for Mercedes?

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With the shock announcement from 2016 Formula One World Champion Nico Rosberg’s retirement last Friday, almost every driver on the grid has been named as a possible replacement for the German. Nico’s decision came as a surprise not only to media and fans of the sport, but to his employers and rivals on the grid. Had there been an inkling from anyone that Nico may have taken this decision the contractual status of a number of leading drivers may be looking very different at this point in the season.

The Mercedes board will be keen to install a replacement driver as soon as possible to minimise the impact on the teams 2017 campaign and maximise driver acclimatisation. That being said, should Mercedes opt for a driver currently under contract with another team it is highly unlikely they will be able to work with said driver until the new year.

From an ease of transition perspective Mercedes could opt for one of their junior drivers in Ocon or Wehrlein. Whilst kind on the cheque book and simplest to implement, Mercedes require a driver capable of performing from at the very top level from the word go, it is undeniable the potential of both drivers is without question,  but it would be a risk to place them with the team from the beginning of 2017.

Realistically, this leaves Mercedes with little option than to approach drivers with existing agreements for season ahead. Toto Wolff has intimated he is reluctant to poach drivers from Ferrari or Mclaren, acknowledging the damage this could cause to future team relations in the lead up to strategy group negotiations with Liberty Media over the coming 36 months. This in theory removes Sebastian, Kimi, and Fernando from the equation. Whilst Toto did not explicitly rule out either of the Red Bull Racing drivers, it is highly unlikely either would be released from what are understood to be long term contracts.

This has left many to suggest Bottas has the most likely candidate for the seat. He is part managed by Toto Wolff and with Williams working in close collaboration with Mercedes a deal in theory could be easy to achieve. I see this to be quite unlikely. 2016 was somewhat of an underwhelming season for both Bottas and Williams. If the cliché of ‘you are only as good as your last race / season’ were to be applied. Bottas is not hot property and should not be regarded as the next best option.

Taking all of this into consideration I believe the best placed driver on the grid to replace Nico Rosberg for 2017 is Sergio Pérez. With 101 points, and 2 podium finishes in 2016 Sergio Pérez was the best performing non works Mercedes driver. He lead the Force India team to their most successful year in history, finishing 4th in the constructors championship scoring points in 16 events over the season. From a pure performance perspective Sergio Pérez has to be regarded as a genuine contender for the seat.

Over and above on track performance, Pérez is highly attractive from a commerical perspective. Mexico is a hugely important market for Mercedes, the car maker is looking to double car sales in the country by 2020. Having a national hero behind the wheel of a Silver Arrows would support this strategy.  Beyond this Sergio Pérez brings his own sponsors to a team. Mercedes are not a team struggling for budget, but opening doors to the Slim family (Telmex Group) will be more than welcome.

Of course Sergio recently signed a one year extension with Force India which in theory locks the Mexican in to the team until 2018, however were Mercedes to offer the services of Wehrlein alongside a discounted Power Unit I am sure an agreement could be found.

Sergio Pérez is a changed driver from the man who replaced Lewis Hamilton at Mclaren in 2013. He has proved his consistency and ability to work with a team during his time with Force India. He deserves another opportunity with a top team. He is the most logical option for Mercedes.

Would it prove to be a threat to Lewis Hamilton? Only time will tell. His has a unique ability to manage tyres and with the huge shift in regulations coming for 2017 this attribute could prove invaluable. At this time Sergio Pérez’s management have declined to comment on the possibility of such a move, but there should be no doubt they will be evaluating any opportunity should it arise.

Formula One: Advantage Hamilton -Tyres Available for the Mexico GP

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Lewis Hamilton heads into the 2016 Mexican Grand Prix both in pole and with a significant strategic advantage over championship leader Nico Rosberg. In setting his fastest Q2 time with only a single set of tyres, Lewis has a fresh set of the preferred, soft compound for the race. Rosberg struggling to find optimal set up in the session elected to run twice leaving him with no unused soft compound tyres for the race.

Electing to start the race with the supersoft compounds, Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen will also have a fresh set of the optimal soft tyre compound in the race. Should they leapfrog either or both of the Mercedes duo at the beginning if the race they could pose a strategic challenge to the Silver Arrows.

 

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Formula One: Levi’s join Sahara Force India

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Sahara Force India have announced the iconic Levi’s® Brand as a team partner for the remainder of the 2016 season in Latin America.
The famous Levi’s® logo will appear on the roll hoop of the VJM09 for this week’s Mexican Grand Prix, as well as on the drivers’ race suits and other team assets.
Vijay Mallya, Team Principal and Managing Director of Sahara Force India: “It’s exciting to welcome the Levi´s® Brand to the Force India family. It’s a brand known across the world and ideally placed to benefit from Formula One’s global reach and exposure. Each pair of Levi’s® jeans is the product of a long history of creativity and innovation – the same values on which our sport is built. We look forward to a successful partnership.”
 
Arcadio Jaramillo, Levi´s® Marketing Director: “Auto Sports Racing drives a huge engagement across Latin America. Although the F1 calendar travels to Mexico and Brazil, fans from across the region follow or travel to experience the ultimate expression of the sport in these two countries creating an exciting moment for the fans at this time of the year. Force India has grown very rapidly as one of the most loved teams by fans across the globe. Partnering with this team places the Levi´s® Brand in the Center of Culture in our region with the right partner

Formula One: KIO Networks join Scuderia Toro Rosso

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Scuderia Toro Rorro have announced a new partnership with Mexican IT company KIO Networks. At the Mexican GP, their logo will appear prominently on the nose and barge boards of both cars.
Franz Tost, Team Principal commented: “Last year’s Mexican Grand Prix proved to be a great success, providing an amazing show. It’s a real pleasure to welcome KIO Networks on board for this race on their home soil, establishing a good new connection with such a high profile IT company. We look forward to enjoying together what we are sure will be another exciting race weekend for the many passionate fans filling the grandstands here.”
 
Sergio Rosengaus, KIO Networks’ CEO, said: “We are very happy to join forces with Scuderia Toro Rosso, with whom we share the passion for technology, innovation, IT and its high-level performance. We are happy to be associated with a team that, as KIO Networks itself, is daring, challenging and fun. We are sure that Carlos and Daniil will give their best on track and we can’t wait to see them in action at our home Grand Prix, with Scuderia Toro Rosso.”
This partnership will be a great opportunity for fellow Tech partner of Toro Rosso, Acronis to explore possible business to business opportunities. The Mexican Grand Prix paddock will be a buzz with senior leadership in a critical growth market for this industry.
KIO Networks partnered with the Lotus F1 team over the 2015 Mexican Grand Prix weekend.
 

Formula One: If one week is too long to wait

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A week can feel like a very long time as a F1 fan, especially when the week in question is that last one before the start of a new season. Fortunately, Formula E has come to our salvation with this weekend’s Mexican e Prix.

The event is taking place at the newly upgraded Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez. Formula E will use elements of the track used for Formula One, including an adapted version of the fantastic stadium section.

Former Toro Rosso team mates; Jean Eric Vergne & Sébastien Buemi, will be competing against the likes of Mercedes development driver Sam Bird and former Virgin Racing driver Lucas Di Grassi to take the top step of the podium later today.

Formula E events take place over a single day, the schedule for today’s racing is as follows:

Free Practice 1: 08.15 local time (15.15 CET)
Free Practice 2: 10.30 local time (17.30 CET)
Qualifying: 12.00 local time (19.00 CET)
RACE: 16.00 local time (23.00 CET)

You can follow the events of the day, through this FIA Formula E hosted streaming service via You Tube:

Streaming services are available in select countries only, if you are unable to view this broadcast please visit this link to check how to access coverage.

Formula E: Scott Speed to stand in for Dario Franchitti in Mexico

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Formula E podium finisher Scott Speed will be partof the championship’s world feed commentary team for round five of the series, which takes Speed, who is racing for the Andretti team in the Global Rallycross Championship, is standing in for Dario Franchitti, who is on IndyCar duty in St. Petersburg, Florida. Speed is a familiar face in the Formula E paddock, having competed in three races for Andretti in season one, which included a stunning second-place finish on his debut in Miami.

“I’m really excited about this opportunity and I think it will be a fun experience to see things from the other side of the camera,” Speed said. “I think Formula E is a great championship, which produces really exciting races, and I can’t wait to get involved in the build-up to the race in Mexico City!”

Speed is one of only two Americans to have raced in Formula E, with Marco Andretti being the other. The only Formula E race on United States soil takes place on April 2 at Long Beach.

To buy tickets for the Mexico and Long Beach ePrix click here

To watch highlights of Speed’s amazing drive to second in Miami click here

Formula E: Mexico City to Round 5 of the 2015/16 Formula E Championship

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Mexico City has today been confirmed as the host city for round five of the 2015-2016 FIA Formula E Championship, subject to approval from the FIA World Motor Sport Council meeting in December. The Mexico City ePrix will take place on March 12, 2016. The track is approximately 2.14km in length and subject to FIA track homologation. It will use part of the historic Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez with seating for around 40,000 of the world’s most passionate fans.

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Mexico has a rich racing culture hosting major international races and now Formula E with the help of DHL, the championship’s Official Logistics Partner.Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag said: “We are delighted to be taking Formula E to Mexico City. This is one of the world’s great cities, with a rich heritage and passion for motorsport. I’m confident the fans will create an amazing atmosphere and make the Mexico City ePrix one of the most memorable races of the season.”

Alejandro Soberon, President and CEO of CIE said: “For OCESA it is an honour to open the doors to Formula E to the just newly-renovated Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez track. A circuit that is positioning itself day-by-day as the temple of motorsport.”

Miguel Angel Mancera, Major of Mexico City added: “Staging events such as Formula E is helping to make Mexico City one of the ‘sports capitals’ of the world. After the success of the Formula 1

Grand Prix, the addition of the Formula E race shows that the Hermanos Rodriguez racetrack is the perfect place for all kinds of racing events and is a key part of the work that the Mexico City government has undertaken to enhance our tourist attractions.”

Salvador Duran said: “Formula E is a great championship that produces fantastic races among top-line drivers and I am sure the Mexican fans are going to love the races. The sound of the cars will be totally new to them, but I know that once they see the quality of the action they are going to be hooked.”

Tickets for the race will go on sale on December 7 with prices starting at 350 Mexican Pesos (approx. 19 Euros).

Formula One: Opinion – Mexico’s Millions

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Last Sunday Formula One made its triumphant return to Mexico. For the first time in 23 years the ,albeit somewhat quieter, sounds of F1 machinery could be heard coming from the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez.  The reception the F1 circus received was nothing short of spectacular, with drivers, journalists, and fans questioning how the Mexican GP ever fell off the Formula One calendar in the first place.

The Mexican Grand Prix was a true success in every sense of the word, not only did the fans create a unique atmosphere, perhaps more importantly government and business supported the event. Jennie Gow in her blog for Grid 1 earlier today commented the Mexican GP should act as a reminder that passion is more important that the pound and that F1 should not forget its roots with the future of Silverstone & Monza’s place F1 calenders continually questioned. Whilst I whole hearty agree with the sentiment, for me possible more than the incredible atmosphere in Mexico what was significant about the race was the pound.

Not relying on its place in history organisers of the Mexican Grand Prix have invested hundreds of millions in upgrading not only the pit and paddock area, but also the circuit design itself. Taking into consideration both modern safety requirements and maximising fans views and engagement with the cars on track aiming to create a fan experience unique to the Mexican GP. The person that came up with the idea of placing the podium in the stadium section of the circuit ,rather than as is traditional position above the pitlane, deserves every accolade they receive. The track gave the feeling of having the everyday fan at the heart of every decision taken. This focus on the fan paid off. Sell-out crowds, lead to sold out merchandising, and food stalls, exactly what is needed to ensure a venue is profitable.

Capacity crowds resulted in FOM world feed broadcasts packed with carnival like images of fans all weekend, relying this message to the millions of viewers at home paid off. Social media was a light with comments around the venue jumping to the top of everyone’s ‘the next race I’m going to’ list. Something the savvy Mexican Tourism board will  no doubt capitalise on with the race becoming a stalwart of how the country is promoted. Beyond the circuit organisers, and the tourism board, Mexican business got behind the return of F1 to the country, half the teams on the grid sported additional Mexican sponsorship agreements for the race weekend.

None of this happened by chance. The Mexican Grand Prix did not return to the F1 calendar for sentimental value, it earned its place through making a sound business case. To the venue owner, the government and tourism board, to the local economy and to perhaps most importantly to businesses.

It was hugely refreshing to see such a dynamic and vibrant event and yes, again echoing Jennie Gow’s comments hopefully some of the ‘new territories’ can take some lessons in how to put on a show, but to me the real lesson should be to those traditional venues. European venues increasingly complain about an F1 event not being profitable, that increasing hosting fees cripple their finances. Perhaps the time has come to look at the product they offer as hosting fees increase their offering should evolve. Government and business don’t see the benefits of a home race because they haven’t been shown in a convincing way. Silverstone, Nürburgring should take the example of Mexico and show the county what F1 could do for them.

Retaining a place on the F1 calendar should not be a right, it should be earned. The Mexican Grand Prix serves to show when faced with that challenge the true classic venues are ready for that fight.

Formula One: Speeds top 336KPH (227MPH) as Nico Rosberg wins in Mexico – Pirelli Race Review

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Nico Rosberg has won the first Mexican Grand Prix in 23 years from pole, with a two-stop strategy. Using a soft-medium-medium strategy, he beat his team mate Lewis Hamilton to secure a 10th one-two of the season for Mercedes and move back to second in the driver points standings.

Behind them, the race strategies were affected by a safety car with just 20 laps to go. This effectively allowed a ‘free’ pit stop, which meant that those contemplating another stop could do so without a big penalty.

The exception was local hero Sergio Perez, driving for Force India, who stopped only once and finished in a points-scoring eighth: reinforcing his reputation for excellent tyre management. Perez was the only one-stopper in the race, with the vast majority of drivers stopping twice and a handful stopping three times: although none of the three-stoppers managed to score points.

An extra dimension to today’s race was added by the highest track temperatures seen all weekend, despite earlier predictions of rain. With 46 degrees of track temperature and an increasing amount of rubber on the new surface, the pattern of wear and degradation seen in practice and qualifying was altered. The extra traction also helped to increase the very high top speeds seen in the thin air of Mexico, with Sebastian Vettel recording 366kph (227mph) on the straight. Williams driver Felipe Massa clocked 352kph (218mph) on the straight even without DRS assistance.

As the race went on and the track evolved, the medium tyre in particular came into its own, with the fastest lap being set by Rosberg (lap 67) on this compound at a pace about one second off the pole position he had set on soft tyres.

All the drivers started on the soft tyre compound, apart from the two McLarens as well as Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen, who started on the medium compound.

Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director: “As expected we saw two stops for the majority of competitors, at what turned out to be quite a complicated race strategically because of a surface that kept on evolving, track temperatures a full 12 degrees higher than we experienced yesterday, and a safety car towards the end of the race. Formula One’s return to Mexico has been a spectacular success, with an amazing and vibrant atmosphere from start to finish. As Nigel Mansell said when he interviewed the drivers on the podium: Viva Mexico! It’s good to know that some things don’t change: when Mexico last returned to F1 in 1986 a Pirelli-equipped car won, thanks to Gerhard Berger and Benetton, and the fans are still brilliant.”

Formula One: Unifin join the Lotus F1 team + Qualifying Report

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Mexican Financial Services provider Unifin have joined the Lotus F1 team as Formula One returns to Mexico this weekend. Not unfamiliar to the F1 grid Unifin backed the Sauber F1 team during the 2012 season.

Follow this link to discover more about the services Unifin have to offer.

Lotus F1 Team Qualifying Report:

Romain Grosjean has qualified twelfth and Pastor Maldonado thirteenth for tomorrow’s Mexican Grand Prix. Both drivers missed out on the top ten decider with close lap times separating the field for a dry but cloud-bordered session.

Romain Grosjean, E23-04. Q: P12, 1:21.038. FP3: P13, 1:22.184
“We’re at a very high altitude, at a track with very low grip, requiring good downforce – which we know are not our strongest points – so we weren’t massively confident of our performance heading into qualifying. We did better than expected, even though we struggled to get the tyres to work. We still have a good opportunity tomorrow; it’s a long race where everyone’s brakes and engines are likely to struggle. The start will be very important; we’ll try to use all our experience and make a decent result happen.”

Pastor Maldonado, E23-03. Q: P13, 1:21.261. FP3: P12, 1:22.042        
“I was hoping for a little bit better from qualifying but we were struggling for front grip and the rear stability wasn’t fantastic. We expected more of a benefit from running with the new tyres but we weren’t able to unlock it. It’s a long race, we usually have good race pace so let’s go for some more points.”

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director:
“There’s potential for exciting battles. We’re certainly targeting points.”

How was qualifying for the team?
It was a tricky session for us. The grip levels were changing with the temperature and the circuit seemed to get slower at the end of Q2. The trick was to be on a fast lap in the fast-slow-fast lap cycle when the track surface and temperature were at their best. We’re not a million miles away from where we expected to be in qualifying so we’re looking to maximise everything for the race.

What are the considerations for tomorrow’s race?
There’s a greater chance of rain than today which we’re very aware of as this can make for a very dynamic race. If it is dry then we can expect very low tyre degradation and close monitoring of the brakes. We should learn a lot tomorrow as the race unfolds and there’s potential for exciting battles through the field. We’re certainly targeting points.