Mexico and Formula 1

As we reported in May Mexico is taking steps to be considered as a potential venue for Formula 1 for 2005 and beyond. The first contacts between Mexico and Formula 1 were made at the Spanish GP when a small delegation discussed the possibilities with F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone. This was followed by a feasibility study into the idea of building a racing circuit near Cancun, a famous seaside resort on Mexico's Caribbean coastline. The local government of the state of Quintana Roo has now completed that work and is pushing ahead with the project, with the support of the Secretary of Tourism Rodolfo Elizondo Torres.

Elizondo was in Paris last week to meet with his French counterpart Bertrand Leon to discuss expanding links between the two countries and told French journalists that the Mexican government is considering investing in a race track which would attract more people to Cancun.

"Cancun could be a new venue for the Formula 1 championship," he said. "If the Mexican authorities can reach an agreement with the F1 authorities. There are real possibilities. It is still necessary to look at all the details of the project but the amount of investment needed is about $100m, mainly for the construction of the circuit, which could be built on a site close to Cancun airport, at the southern end of the Cancun hotel strip. The best time for the race would be in April or May."

There are expected to be further talks between the Formula One authorities and the Governor of Quintana Roo Joaquin Hendricks Diaz.

Mexican motorsports in undergoing a renaissance at the moment with six of the 20 CART drivers now being Mexicans and two races each year attracting big crowds. Next year the FIA World Rally Championship will visit Mexico and increasingly Mexican companies are taking advantage of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and cheap labour costs to compete against US firms in the American market. Nearly 90% of Mexican exports go to the US market and so Mexican drivers have been able to find money to race in the USA rather than trying to find money for F1.

Many of the Mexican drivers in CART dream of F1 but without support they cannot hope to be successful.

We have however heard whispers that there may be Mexicans with money for F1 in the year's ahead as some of Mexico's biggest businesses look to global expansion. The most likely would be the beer companies Tecate and Corona.

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