Formula 1: Mexican Grand Prix Returning Soon?

Neil JamesFeatured ColumnistDecember 5, 2011

Nigel Mansell drives the #5 Canon Williams Renault Williams FW14B Renault 3.5 V10 ahead of the field at the start of the Mexican Grand Prix on 22nd March 1992 at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodríguez in Mexico City, Mexico.(Photo by Pascal Rondeau/Getty Images)
Pascal Rondeau/Getty Images

The Mexican Grand Prix, last held in 1992, should return to the Formula One calendar in the near future.  At least, that's the opinion of one Mexican F1 fan, Carlos Slim Domit.

Every fan thinks his or her home country should have a Grand Prix, so normally we might not pay any attention.  But Slim Domit is no ordinary fan—he's the son of Carlos Slim Helú, the world's richest man.

Carlos Sr.'s net worth is estimated at $74 billion. 

And the family is already involved in F1, as major backers of Sauber (Telcel, Telmex and Claro are parts of their empire).  Sergio Perez can thank them for his big break, as can the team's reserve driver Esteban Gutierrez. 

Carlos Jr., meanwhile, is working with Mexican entertainment giant CIE to push for a return of F1 to the country—the world's 11th largest in terms of population.

So, we should take his comments not simply as the expression of a dream, but as a statement of intent.  What the world's richest family wants, it's safe to assume the world's richest family will get.

"Perhaps naturally, I embrace the idea and believe that a new race for Mexico is what, in colloquial English, is referred to as a 'no-brainer'," he said, speaking to the FIA's In Motion magazine. 

"The bottom line is that Mexico's loss of Formula One in 1992 was an unfortunate occurrence.  However, the loss of Mexico to Formula One can now be seen as something more than unfortunate," he said.

It's easy to read too far into what could be a totally innocuous interview, but it's unlikely the FIA's magazine would have bothered to ask him for—and print—his opinions if plans were not already at an advanced stage.

Carlos Slim with Christian Horner in 2009
Carlos Slim with Christian Horner in 2009Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Financial backing, the Achilles heel of so many potential suitors, would be no problem at all. 

And the monetary benefits of F1 expanding within the huge Latin American market will appeal to the teams, sponsors and—perhaps most importantly—Bernie Ecclestone.

Slim Domit went on to provide suggestions for venues, including tourist hot spot Cancun and Mexico's second city, Guadalajara. And he couldn't resist a subtle swipe at the new breed of F1-hosting countries.

"It is, after all, a ready-made audience—unlike at some of the venues currently featuring on the F1 calendar," he said.

Take that, Bahrain and Singapore.

There's little doubt that the Mexican Grand Prix will return to the calendar. And with the backing of the Slims—who make the sheikhs of Qatar and Abu Dhabi look like paupers—we should expect it to happen sooner rather than later.