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Gutierrez: Mexico’s F1 return is 'greatest news of my career’ 11 Aug 2014

Esteban Gutierrez (MEX) Sauber with his US Grand Prix helmet.
Formula One World Championship, Rd18, United States Grand Prix, Practice, Austin, Texas, USA, Friday, 15 November 2013 Race winner Nigel Mansell (GBR) Williams FW14B Mexican Grand Prix, Mexico City, 22 March 1992. Sergio Perez (MEX) Sauber C29. Sauber Demonstration, Guadalajara, Mexico, 26 February 2011. (L to R): Esteban Gutierrez (MEX) Sauber and Sergio Perez (MEX) Force India.
Formula One World Championship, Rd11, Hungarian Grand Prix, Practice, Hungaroring, Hungary. Friday, 25 July 2014 Graham Hill (GBR) Lotus 49B, leading the field at the start of the race, was the race winner and World Champion for the second time as a result. Mexican Grand Prix, Mexico City, 3 November 1968 A statue to commemorate Pedro Rodriguez (MEX) and his brother Ricardo Rodriguez (MEX), who were both killed in motor racing accidents. Mexican Grand Prix, Rd 15, Mexico City, Mexico, 12 October 1986.

Sauber’s Esteban Gutierrez has described the return of Mexico to the Formula One calendar for the first time in more than two decades as "some of the greatest news in my career so far".

Organisers recently revealed that Mexico City’s Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, which last saw official F1 action in 1992, is set to host a round of the 2015 FIA Formula One World Championship, and for Gutierrez the news couldn’t come soon enough.

“It's really a dream come true for many of us,” said the 23-year-old from Monterrey following the announcement. “A Mexican Grand Prix would be the most fantastic experience for me - to race in front of my people. Mexico has a long F1 history, so the fascination for F1 is still in their genes.”

Gutierrez, one of two Mexicans - along with Force India’s Sergio Perez - to have recently broken onto the F1 grid, believes his previous taste of competing on home soil hinted at just how great a reception Formula One racing’s return will receive.

“I had the chance to race once in Mexico City, back in 2008, when we did the world finals of Formula BMW, and it was a great experience,” he said. “I think it was an introduction to what it can be. Now we will be going into the biggest thing in Mexico and to really physically share the sport with our fans and our supporters.”

Indeed, although Mexico has not held a Grand Prix in 22 years, the country shows no sign of losing its F1 appetite. When Perez carried out a demonstration event in his home town of Guadalajara just prior to his 2011 debut, between 150,000 and 200,000 people lined the streets to watch.

“This was one of the best days of my life,” Perez exclaimed at the time. “It was a great, great experience. I have never experienced something like this before with so many people cheering me. I’m proud to be Mexican, and I’m proud to receive all this support.”

The Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, named after legendary Mexican racing siblings Pedro and Ricardo, first hosted F1 racing in 1963 and was a championship fixture for the next seven years. It then returned to the calendar in 1986 and staged a further six Grands Prix. Famous winners have included Jim Clark, Graham Hill, Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna, and now the event is set to provide many more classic Formula One moments.

“I have good feelings about it, because all these years that Mexico has been involved in Formula One with obviously first Checo [Perez] and now myself,” Gutierrez continued. “We are both in F1 and I think this is a great step to have a Grand Prix.”

The famous circuit is expected to undergo a programme of improvements and upgrades in time for the 2015 race, when it will be capable of welcoming around 150,000 spectators.

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