Honda F1 website

MARCH 14, 2005

What is the Cancun race all about

Mention Cancun in the United States of America and the response will be that it is the place where college kids go to get laid during the annual Spring Break. The tradition of the Spring Break began in the late 1950s in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The movie "Where the Boys Are" (1960) inspired the next two generations to head for the resort to seek, sun, surf, alcohol and, inevitably, sex. This was great fun for those involved but the image of the city of Fort Lauderdale suffered as a result and eventually the city fathers, keen to attract a more affluent bunch of tourists, took action and cracked down on all antisocial behaviour. They wanted golfers and cruise ship passengers who left more money behind than the penniless party-goers. The plan worked. The college kids of the late 1980s and 1990s changed venue and headed south of the border to Cancun, where they could get more bangs for their bucks. The beaches were great and the usual Spring Break excesses continued unabated. At its peak in 1998 and 1999 Cancun attracted around 140,000 college students during the Spring Break. This is only a small percentage of Cancun's annual income and yet the city's image was soon tainted by the adventures of the college kids and the local authorities reached the same conclusion as Fort Lauderdale did in the 1980s. The college kids were driving away more lucrative trade. Cancun wants to attract a different crowd and so needs to change its image with conventions, golf courses and upscale resorts. Aiming to get Formula 1 in the town is part of this plan.

This year the Spring Break will attract only around 40,000 students from the US and it appears that Cancun wants to kick the habit completely with a new "civility agreement" that many of the Cancun enterprises have signed. This will see laws enforced to stop illegal nudity, under-age drinking and other excesses.

This may be a good thing for Cancun but bad news as and when F1 does get to town...