Verizon IndyCar Series officials have announced today that a race in Mexico City at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez circuit is no longer possible for the 2018 season. However, there are still hopes that a race in Mexico at the Formula One Grand Prix circuit could be held in the 2019 season, as talks will continue between the venue, IndyCar and sponsors.
It emerged in mid-October that the Verizon IndyCar Series was interested in racing in Mexico City after the circuit lost their World Endurance Championship event; a race that usually takes place in September. However, there were a number of sticking points that could have prevented the event taking place in 2018, including a comparatively shorter time than hoped for race promotion as well as adequate time for competitors and sponsors of the series to prepare for a race in Mexico.
Today, Mark Miles, CEO of IndyCar’s parent company, Hulman & Company, announced that their hopes for a 2018 Mexico race would be unfulfilled, but he also stated he remained confident that a deal could be found in the future:
“INDYCAR is invested in the process of putting together the right deal with a partner we are certain can deliver this race,” said Miles in an IndyCar statement today,
“We are not at the point where we can finalize a contract for the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season and felt that we couldn’t delay the decision any longer, in fairness to our teams, manufacturers and other stakeholders who need time to properly prepare for an event of such magnitude.
“IndyCar appreciates the rich racing history in Mexico and we would like to be part of that once again. We will keep working with the intent of making an IndyCar event in Mexico City a reality in the future.”
The last time an American open-wheel series raced in Mexico City was in the mid-2000’s. The Champ Car series raced at Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez for five years in between 2003 and 2007; with the 2007 race being the last Champ Car event before the series merged with the Indy Racing League to form the IndyCar Series of today.
During the five year run of Champ Car at Hermanos Rodríguez, a host of current Verizon IndyCar series drivers competed at the venue. Most notably, Sebastien Bourdais won three of the five events held at the Mexico City racetrack. The other two race wins went to Paul Tracy and the late Justin Wilson. Other current drivers who raced at the track include Ryan Hunter-Reay, Will Power, Simon Pagenaud, Graham Rahal and others.
With Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez being a popular track amongst drivers and teams, as well as being known for a fantastic race-day atmosphere thanks to the many Motorsport fans in Mexico, the hopes for an IndyCar race in 2019 will continue.
For now, the series will maintain it’s seventeen race schedule for 2018. The series will begin with the Grand Prix of St Petersburg on March 11 and will conclude at Sonoma Raceway on September 16. The only notable change to the schedule is the replacement of the Watkins Glen round with a return to Portland International Raceway for the penultimate round of the season on September 2.