Formula 1 returns to Mexico for the first time since 1992 this weekend, with former World Champion Nigel Mansell looking forward to seeing cars racing in the country once more.
Mansell won the final race on the previous configuration of the circuit, and has vivid memories of the track, most notably his overtake of Gerhard Berger around the outside of the Peraltada corner, the then-fearsome banked final corner, when he was a Ferrari driver in 1990.
“I remember having a great time!” revealed Mansell. “What sticks in my mind most is overtaking Gerhard Berger in the Peraltada, and how much I upset him! Winning in Mexico the year after that at the last Grand Prix was sensational.
“I love the vibrance of the city, the passion and energy of the people. It’s such a unique place, so different to anywhere else in the world. Overall I have extremely fond memories of racing there, the fans, the energy and the track itself were all highlights of the F1 calendar back then for me.”
The 1992 World Champion is looking forward to seeing how the track has changed since he last raced there in his championship-winning season, but believes it is great news that Mexico is back on the Formula 1 calendar.
“I can’t wait to see all the changes first hand,” said Mansell. “The city has evolved enormously over the past 20 years. I’m really looking forward to watching the race so many years after competing there myself. And of course seeing the fans and many friends I still have there again.
“[Mexico has] incredible diversity and colour. I think it’s great that Mexico is back on the F1 calendar and I can’t wait to witness the passion of the Mexican F1 fans first hand.”
Mansell admitted he was flattered when he found out that he would be having a corner of the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez named after him, and it brought back the happy memories of his move on Berger in 1990 and his race victory at the circuit two years later.
“When I found out about the turn naming of course I was delighted,” revealed Mansell. “Flattered, proud and delighted in equal measure.
“The news instantly brought to mind my unexpected overtaking manoeuvre on Berger to come in second behind my Ferrari team-mate Alain Prost back in 1990 – I can’t believe that was 25 years ago and that it’s been 23 years since my last win at the track. The turn naming is very special to me, I feel honoured.”
Mansell also revealed he has been looking at how Sergio Perez has developed as a driver in recent years, and feels the young Mexican has the potential to one day become Formula 1 World Champion.
“I’ve watched him carefully and I think he has a huge amount of talent and potential,” insisted Mansell. “Given the right car, the right circumstances and backing, he’s certainly future World Champion material.”