Mexico City - From grandstands packed with sombrero-wearing fans doing literal Mexican waves to Mariachi bands serenading the public and a lucha libre wrestling ring in the middle of the paddock, the Mexican Grand Prix is an event that uses Mexico to promote Mexico.
With promotional artwork evocative of Frida Kahlo and echoes of Aztec iconography on posters and race programs, plus fortuitous scheduling that sees the race coincide with the Día de Los Muertos festival, the 2017 Mexican Grand Prix cannot be confused with any other race.
"The way we see the race is a great opportunity to showcase Mexico to the world," says Alejandro Soberon, president of Mexican race promoters CIE. "Definitely it is a platform to promote tourism and the country as a destination.
"We thought it would be a great idea to create a window to allow the world to see Mexican culture and Mexican warmth and everything that Mexico can bring. Mexico is so rich in all those regards that we thought it would be easy for us to connect with them and use them as a platform. We truly believe it is one of the aspects that has made Mexico a great destination."
Mexico's status as a great destination – for both tourism and Formula 1 – is a certainty, as anyone with experience of either country or race can assert. But in the wake of two devastating earthquakes in September, the 2017 edition of the Mexican Grand Prix has taken on additional symbolic importance for a country that's in the process of putting itself back together.
"In the aftermath of the recent earthquakes, most of all we want to share the pride we all feel for the great solidarity and support of the Mexican people," Soberon said. "We are looking forward to hosting the F1 race and showing the world Mexico's strength."
According to Rodrigo Sanchez, head of marketing and public relations for the race, the late October slot is an integral part of Mexico's sales pitch.
"We like the date because it helps us promote another part of the culture that we have, which is the Day of the Dead. Usually it's a long weekend in Mexico because it's a holiday. For us it's perfect... We're taking a little advantage of the city because it's around those dates that the city makes things happen on the streets, so we can add more color to the experience of going to the race in Mexico," he said.
"It's alive; it's sparkling, everything is happening. Restaurants, Formula 1, NBA games... We are awake, everything is happening in Mexico City. We can make it a good moment for Mexico; to all of Mexico from Mexico City," Sanchez added.For more information, read the full article at motorsports.com.