Formula 1: Mexico Grand Prix returns to calendar for 2015

By Andrew BensonChief F1 writer
Mexican GP, 1989
The ultra-fast banked right-hander Peraltada is likely to be neutered at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez circuit

Mexico will return to the Formula 1 calendar in 2015 after a 23-year absence, organisers of a planned new race have announced.

Live events company CIE said it had signed a five-year deal to run the race at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City.

Archive: A look at Mexico's Grand Prix track

The track has previously hosted grands prix from 1963-70 and 1986-92.

CIE president Alejandro Soberon said: "Start your engines, F1 will return to Mexico next year."

F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone confirmed the news and said the deal would "benefit both for many years".

The return of the event was originally planned for 2014, but the organisers could not update the track in time.

The Mexican Grand Prix winners when it was last held at Hermanos Rodriguez
1992Nigel Mansell (GB)Williams-Renault
1991Riccardo Patrese (Ita)Williams-Renault
1990Alain Prost (Fra)Ferrari
1989Ayrton Senna (Bra)McLaren-Honda
1988Alain Prost (Fra)McLaren-Honda
1987Nigel Mansell (GB)Williams-Honda
1986Gerhard Berger (Aust)Benetton-BMW

The circuit is likely to be reconfigured from the layout last used when Nigel Mansell won in 1992, with the neutering of the infamous and ultra-fast banked right-hander at the end of the lap, Peraltada.

It will also be resurfaced to reduce its notorious bumpiness, with spectator stands and pit garages also undergoing renovations to comply with FIA regulations.

A gap in the calendar, as well as taking logistics into account, means it is likely the race will run back-to-back with the United States Grand Prix held in Austin, Texas - although a concrete date is yet to be decided.

The race would take the F1 calendar up to 20 races, the theoretical maximum, although it can be extended beyond that with the teams' agreement.

Interest in F1 in Mexico has risen in recent years following the debut in 2011 of Sergio Perez, who this year is driving for Force India.

"The return of F1 to our country is a sign that the Mexican state can achieve anything," said Perez.

"It is a great opportunity to show the world what Mexico is and what we are capable of achieving."

There is a second Mexican driver, Esteban Gutierrez at Sauber, although it remains unclear whether he will still be in F1 in 2015.

Organisers will be hoping for crowds of 180,000 to attend over the three-day event.

The track is swept clean of debris before the Mexican Grand Prix at the Mexico City circuit
The Hermanos Rodriguez circuit will need some urgent renovation to bring it up to current F1 standards

Both men's careers have been bankrolled by the Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, who is one of the key figures behind the return of the country's race.

Ecclestone is also in the final stages of agreeing a grand prix in Baku in Azerbaijan.

The oil-rich Caspian state is understood to have signed contracts with F1. Funding is considered to be a formality.

Azerbaijan is planning a street race in the historic capital, which will pass the Azeri parliament building on the seafront promenade.

There has been no word on the mooted new race in New Jersey, overlooking Manhattan.

It was first scheduled for 2013 but has since been postponed twice following the organisers' failure to raise the necessary sanctioning fee. F1 insiders believe the race is unlikely to happen.

Nigel Mansell of Great Britain celebrates winning with 2nd placed team mate Riccardo Patrese and third placed Michael Schumacher during the Mexican Grand Prix on 22nd March 1992 at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodríguez in Mexico City, Mexico.
Nigel Mansell finished ahead of Riccardo Patrese and Michael Schumacher in Mexico in 1992

Meanwhile, question marks have been raised about this year's maiden Russian Grand Prix in Sochi, scheduled for 12 October, following the downing of a Malaysian Airlines passenger jet over Ukraine with the loss of all 298 people on board.

The contract for the Russian race, which is closely tied to Russian President Vladimir Putin, is said by senior figures to be worth $50m a year to F1 over a five-year contract.

The sport's commercial boss Bernie Ecclestone said at the German Grand Prix last weekend: "I don't see any problems with that," adding that F1 "doesn't get involved in politics".

However, senior British MPs have called for the race to be cancelled in the light of the Ukraine crisis.external-link

Government House in Baku, Azerbaijan
An Azerbaijan GP will pass the Azeri parliament building on the seafront promenade

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