Mexican GP sells out

Whilst delighted by the popularity of F1's return to Mexico, race promoter admits the challenge is to maintain the feeling.

"After 23 years of absence there is a lot of excitement, not just in Mexico City but all across the country," said Federico Gonzalez Compean of race promoter CIE. "People are counting the days and we are almost ready. We are 80 per cent finished with the construction, so we feel confident. We are focusing now on the experience people are going to have at the grand prix. It's not only about the race, it's about the experience and what people are expecting across the whole weekend. How we can get the city to embrace the race and the whole adventure of Formula One coming back to Mexico City."

Asked if he was surprised at how quickly the race sold out, he admits: "Yes. With the series we own, the Mexican NASCAR series, we sell about 100,000 tickets per year and with this one we almost sold that in the first issue of tickets.

"The challenge we have now is to sustain that," he continues. “We can't be like 'OK we're done for the next five years'. We are conscious that we have to focus on continuity. However, what we bring to this experience is coming from a background of entertainment promotion over 25 years and we sell 8 million tickets a year. We think this is great opportunity to add value to the experience of motor sport events and we think we can bring a lot of new fans to the grand prix."

Having witnessed the initial success, then demise of other recent additions to the F1 calendar, Compean is aware that a strong business plan must be in place for the circuit.

"We would love to have MotoGP, as Mexico is also big on motorcycles," he reveals, "but I think we have to choose two or three more races. We have people approaching us but we have yet to make that decision.

"What are those events? The usual suspects! It's possible that we will rent the circuit to other promoters. Our model will be based on four events that we promote and then maybe we would allow a different promoter to bring an event for a weekend and we would help them. We would operate the race for them – we would do security, ticketing and so on, as that's our background."

Asked if the circuit can become a hub for Mexican motor sport, he is positive: "Absolutely. I think the venue will help more promoters and series to grow, with the help of the new race, the facility, the track and with the help of Formula One, which does have a real 'halo effect'."

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