Mexican GP as standard by which all are measured? Hope not

Share This Post

Apparently the state of Texas has a new formula for Formula 1 and it has reduced its Major Events Trust Fund contribution to the annual race by $5.5 million. A great idea if you’d like to kill the race and eliminate the gains that you do make from hosting the 100+ thousand people over the weekend.

Now, maybe Texas has issues with the economic impact reports it has seen showing a very positive impact for both Austin and Texas but regardless, if the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) was relying on the continued support of the METF to pay the race sanctioning fees, then surely reducing the amount is only going to kill the gains the state enjoys regardless of what the veracity of those numbers are. You can’t jam 100,000+ people into Austin for a weekend and not enjoy the benefits.

On the heels of a miserable weekend in Austin came the Mexican Grand Prix and oh how the press and F1 pundits squealed with glee at the loving embrace the Mexican people gave them and how well the series was received. It became almost patronizing as if Mexico was incapable of starting a car let alone hosting a race.

It’s become the new litmus test for F1 success in terms of races, fans and excitement. It’s not hard to see why when the circuit boasted over 330,000 people in aggregate over the weekend but I might add, how do we know those numbers are perfect while we throw stones at COTA for their numbers? Apparently COTa is the only circuit fudging numbers in the world. I saw one journalist say he’d been going to races forever and he can tell how big a crowd is…ok, guess we’ll take your word for it.

There is a problem when we start using Mexico City as the litmus test for what other circuits should expect and I would caution anyone considering a 225,000 fan weekend a failure.

You see, Mexico City is bigger than New York city in population. It has nearly 9 million people! Of course the access to humanity plays a big role in attendance. That is what makes Silverstone such a big number at over 300,000 given the nearest huge population is London. People have to travel a long ways to get there or Austin.

If we put a race in the middle of New York or Los Angeles, chances are the attendance would be much higher than the USGP in Austin. Now we hear that Mexico is shooting for 360,000 in 2016 and Tavo Hellmund is making all the headlines (for good reason, he’s done a great job using other people’s money to make races happen).

I think we should be elated with the Mexican GP and the fans in Mexico because they were terrific! The support, turnout and efforts should be applauded with no reserve. Are they the litmus test now for all other races? I don’t think so. Sao Paulo is a massive population center with approximately 11 million people and last year they put 70,000 bums in the seats on Sunday.

The first race back in Mexico was always going to be a big deal and so it should be. Time will tell if the attendance numbers stay and that’s if the Mexican fans don’t sour to the current F1 style of racing.

A big success story? Absolutely. A measuring stick by which all should be measured? I think not. If we start ditching races because they don’t field 330,000+ attendances, then we’re in big trouble. If investors shy away from acquiring races unless they seat 330,000 people, then the future could get a little bumpy.

I say that from a race promoter position and while some feel F1 doesn’t care about attendance, that’s not true. Attendance is important in order to keep the races going, promoters happy and the sanctioning fees coming.

48 COMMENTS

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

48 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Paul KieferJr

If Mexico becomes the standard, then Formula 1 will die. Plain and simple.

Patrick Chapman

Hi Paul, My question would be, What standard are you referring to? In order to make a GP successful these days is extremely difficult for the organisers and promoters as their income is mainly derived from ticket sales. Bernie’s gang basically collects all the revenue from the on track advertising and the broadcasting rights so that leaves a very small slice of a very large cake left over for the promoters and organisers. So without major government and private sponsorships, it becomes nearly impossible for the track owners to pay Bernie for the hosting fee which is a huge amount… Read more »

Steve Calvert

What was the average ticket price for the Mexican GP? Was was the average ticket price for CoTA? This should give us a good idea about what kind of money was spent in these cities.

Like I’ve said above. The way you can tell if something like this is successful is to see how many people NOT from the area came to the race.

What is that “very high standard”? Is it just people in the seats? Is it the actual race? What?

Patrick Chapman

As far as I am aware Steve the ticket prices at Mexico averaged approximately one third of COTA prices and COTA averaged $400 for the weekend. I don’t agree with your definition of successful, if the seat is occupied, then it’s occupied. The promoters measure their event success by how many tickets are sold as a percentage of how many seats are available, not by what passport you hold. So if the stands are full of locals and overseas visitors are unable to procure a ticket, does that make the event a failure? I think not, so we will have… Read more »

Steve Calvert

I wasn’t trying to see in any way that the Mexican GP was anywhere near a failure. Not is any event who pulls in those kinds of numbers. But, you did answer my question, sort of. The average prices for Mexican GP tickets are 1/3 that of the CoTA tickets, that’s good to know. Not being contentious in any way just trying to see what “standard” meant. I agree 100% about filling the seats with bodies, that has to be the first thing people look at. Mexico will most surely sellout all of their F1 races. But here in Texas,… Read more »

Patrick Chapman

Fair enough, I look forward to seeing your posts in the future.

CARLOS PALOMO PUENTE

First, Mexico City has more than 20 million inhabitants. Second, Kiefer is completely out of his mind…. he is so envious.

Negative Camber

I was probably looking at the city center and not total metropolitan area. That, indeed, is much bigger. That’s got to be close to 18-20% of the entire population of Mexico in one area so no surprise the attendance was high and most likely will stay high. A big success for sure.

The Captain

The “city” is technically around 9 million but there’s around 23 million living in the valley.

Paul KieferJr

Try “Metropolitan Area”: The city and its surrounding communities. There are only 12 others that are close to or above Mexico City’s size. The only one in the US is Los Angeles.

CARLOS PALOMO PUENTE

Thank you for your comment, Negative Camber. Greater Mexico City must have around 23 million people nowadays, and that makes your estimation of the whole population right. Of course that helps to fill up a Grand Prix. However, Mexico, along with Italy and Brazil, has the bigger fan base in the world. Motor racing is in the blood of the mexicans.

BasCB

Its great to have enthusiastic fans, and I would love to see as many return next year, more is even better. Certainly there is a far better fan base to thrive than in places like Russia, Korea or Inda and being in the middle of the city makes it a good fit.
But part of the reason why it filled up so fast is probably also that it was the first race in Mexico in over 20 years.

Negative Camber

I agree with BasCB, first race in 20 years and Mexican fans are starving for F1 racing so it’s all good. I am very elated for the Mexican fans to have a race and excited to see such support for the series. It’s a bit of a case of bottled lightning in Mexico so I don’t expect that at other venues like Spa or Austria or the US.

BasCB

Yeah, if we start making 330k “visitors” the norm, Bernie would have a huge hole in the FOM budget. I doubt races like Abu Dhabi, Sochi, Baku and Bahrain are able to get those numbers even with multiple years added together!

Patrick Chapman

@Negative Camber, Off topic I hope you don’t mind. I generally go to GPtoday to get an overview of what is happening in F1 and it covers a lot of different sites and this is where I learned about your site. Your latest articles are usually linked there and that is the only way that I have found to get to your newest content. If I go directly to your site, I can never find your latest articles. Today, the latest article that I can see is dated 4th November. This article that I am in now I can’t find… Read more »

228929292AABBB

I have this trouble as well, bringing up the site always shows old podcasts and news articles and I’ll use logic to figure there must be newer ones and try to dive through a lot of different doors to get to the newer podcasts and articles, sometimes one I know exists, because I downloaded it from itunes, is just not showing on the site at all. Never commented on it because I figured maybe it was on my end, but there you go.

Patrick Chapman

Thanks for letting me know that I am not the only one that is having this problem. I have pressed buttons till I am blue in the face and I still can’t find the newest articles. Help please Negative camber.

Negative Camber

The issue is page traffic an caching the site for speed of loading. I cache the site but I’ve just told the cacher to not cache the main page. We can try that but in the meantime, hold you shift key down while hitting the refresh button and you will get the latest version of the site.

The Captain

Just a head up Todd, it’s different for different browsers. For me Safari will show the most recent front page when I first go here, but Firefox will almost always show the old cached version. No idea about Chrome.

Negative Camber

I stopped caching the main page so check your firefox again. Chrome is working properly for me.

The Captain

Just tested it and it seems to work. But if caching it is better for you and the sites performance by all means do it. I don’t mid hitting refresh, unless it is giving other people problems.

Patrick Chapman

Thanks for the feedback NC. Now I only have one question left. Where the flip is the refresh button?

Negative Camber

The circular arrow that refreshes the page in your browser.

Patrick Chapman

Thanks Paul, that one works for me. Much obliged.

Paul KieferJr

Alternative: Control + “F5”.

228929292AABBB

I think it’s not just the numbers in the seats. The spirit of those Mexican fans is a massive factor, the CRAZY and specific cheering and not just for Perez, they have so much positive energy and knowledge, they’re true true fanatics and I think that’s what caught the attention of observers. It’s one thing to fill the seats with indentured girlfriends or whomever, it’s another when they all know enough to scream every driver’s name, and that passion IS a factor in putting on a great GP. Contrast it to Austin, where there were golf claps from the filing-out… Read more »

Vance Facundo

Todd – Do you know how may Ex-Cota employees work for the MexicanGP?

Negative Camber

I do not, Vance.

Steve Calvert

The question should be is that really relevant?

Vance Facundo

Pardon me Steve, having a conversation with Todd, not you.

Steve Calvert

Yes, and so was I…

Vance Facundo

Not in this thread! Beat it!

Steve Calvert

I can’t have a conversation with Todd or anyone else here while you’re here? Oh, my bad. Certainly don’t want to hurt your feelings.

Vance Facundo

Show some respect for this page please.

Steve Calvert

Vance, you do this all the time. You claimed I should show you respect as you use my name and call me a blabbering idiot.

How about you apologize?

Vance Facundo

Sorry! See it’s easy.

Paul KieferJr

Decorum and respect, Mr. Facundo. This is a very public thread. Email him (“nc >atdot< com") if you don't want people intruding.

Vance Facundo

Several Ex COTA executive and marketing staff moved on to the Mexican GP after termination.

MIE

While I realise that the circuit benefits from individuals buying a ticket for each day they attend, I suspect that the vast majority of those turning up on Friday also come on Saturday and all those on the Saturday come along for the race. A better indication of the number of people who come to the area would be the Sunday attendance figure. For most circuits this capacity is limited (in the height of Mansell mania in the late 80s and early 90s Silverstone was limited to 90,000 people, now it is somewhat greater 125,000 or so). This does mean… Read more »

Steve Calvert

Is it really difficult of a city and community the size of Mexico City to fill the stands with warm bodies? I think not… BUT, the vast majority of people at the Mexican GP were from Mexico. CoTA, on the other hand, posted a very good race day attendance (despite what Vance and the “former friends” say) of a 101,000+ fans. Most of those were not from Texas. And the weather was bad… For a race to be successful, it has to have warm bodies in the seat, YES, but also how many come from other parts of the country… Read more »

Vance Facundo

Steve Culvert, I see you’re still up to your usual tactics, talking on behalf of others using your own words. This is a bit damaging to those folks. For that very reason I have named the bump before turn 11 at COTA after you! I call it “Steve’s Culvert”! The drainage in that area seems to be damaging a few race cars due to it undermining the track surface. Congrats!

Steve Calvert

“Talking in behalf of others” WTF does that even mean Vance? It is, they are, my own words. You and Tim still have a hard on for Bobbie, get over it already. Can you spend a second and respond to what I said about the story at hand or is that too above your heard? Was it hard to fill the stands in a country that loves the sport like Mexico? I think not my friend. Is the fees too high for promoters to make money? Can you respond to that? Thanks for naming a section after me, bad is… Read more »

Vance Facundo

It’s too above my “Heard”? “CoTA, on the other hand, posted a very good race day attendance (despite what Vance and the “former friends” say)” Those are your words with my name on it. I never said that and you know it. You’re still a blabbering idiot looking to start trouble. Can you apologize? or is that too above your “Heard”?

Steve Calvert

Come on Vance. The above your head statement was directed towards what I’ve said about “Can you spend a second and respond to the story at hand…” Discuss that. So, you and other “friends” always dispute the numbers at CoTA, do you not? So they are you words, even if it’s a stretch on my end. I’m not trying to start trouble but I guess I do like seeing you fume. OK, peace, I’m sorry. I’ve been hard on you guys, some you deserve and some you don’t. I really think we want the same things and I do see… Read more »

Vance Facundo

First off, we have ALWAYS posted pos/neg stories. This gives everyone the opportunity to read them and go comment on those pages. We have never changed that EVER. Our skill is finding the news fast. Not many can do it faster than us. Second, the track would have to be for sale. I heard it was at one time, not sure if it still is. Third, last time I looked Mr. Hellmund had a job and seemed to be doing pretty good.

Steve Calvert

Yes, you have always done both sides but after the Tavo leaving incident the tide turned more negative. You and Tim sure can find the stuff fast. I meant several people this year from outside Texas and told them about your FB page. I have and will always tell people about your page because of that. Great job… I would have hoped that this last METF thingy would send Bobbie over the edge and since Tavo is looking to have another race in America, he’d want to fix us first. About the Mexican GP, see all my other comments about… Read more »

Steve Calvert

BTW, Vance, I’m sure the METF would have been cut if Tavo were here, too. It would have also probably rained during this year’s race as well. I know Tavo is good but he ain’t that good.

PatreonPayPal
48
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x