With another race ticked off our list for 2018, there’s no rest for the Formula 1 circus. We have little time to gulp down our sixth (ok, it’s our twelfth really, we admit it) burger of the US weekend, as it’s bags packed and on our merry way to Mexico, where we’ll be trading BBQ grub and chips for tacos and fajitas.
The Mexican Grand Prix falls at a similar time each year, what we call Halloween, the Mexicans call the ‘Day of the Dead’. Natives go all out to decorate themselves as skeletons or, to put it straight and to fit the apt, aforementioned tag, dead beings. Often is the case in Mexico, drivers, engineers, marketeers and mechanics alike are mistaken to be dressed in these dead costumes. But no, we’re not dressed up. That’s just us, and that’s what happens when you’re nineteen races into a season and gearing up for another back-to-back. At least we’ve saved money on make-up and outfits! Maybe putting a mask on would be an improvement for some of us….
Arrival in Mexico City often reminds us of that cool opening scene to James Bond’s 2015 film Spectre as Daniel Craig wrestles through the busy Day of the Dead parade. Talking of Bond, Nico insists that he would make an excellent 007 (or 0027 in his case), which got us thinking for the criteria. Good looking? Debatable. Smooth? Sometimes. Ice Cool? Often, way too often. Funny? He hides it, but yes. Definitely yes. Good dress sense? Definitely not. Amazing driver? Yes, undeniably yes. We’ll let you decide if Hülkenberg, Nico Hülkenberg would make a good Bond or not. Move over Tom Hardy (enter choice of next James Bond here).
Movember is going to be widely celebrated in the Formula 1 paddock in Mexico. More of a prelim to actual Movember, cleverly named to encourage people to grow a ‘mo’ (moustache) throughout the month of No (Mo) vember. One stumbling block is that the race weekend is in October and not November. But we’ll brush that one aside and go with the flow.
Alongside its motor racing success, Renault has a very, very, very proud history of famous facial hair with an array of revolutionary strokes and designs demonstrated through the years. Our favourites, Ferenc Szisz’ Edwardian-styled snozz dating back to 1906, Nigel Mansell’s rather bushy look in the 1990s and, more recently, Head of Aerodynamics Pete Machin’s ingenious and precise Aero Tash, which has been developed and refined at Enstone’s wind tunnel facility. Look out for Carlos’ attempt this weekend to see if he can add his name to an elite and historic list.
Mexico spells a non-stop carnival atmosphere. It’s contagious. It’s bright, loud, vibrant, often strange, but equally uplifting and wonderful at the same time. The Mexican atmosphere is best captured in the famous stadium section of the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. It’s a unique part for any circuit as drivers enter the tight corners with big grandstands swooping over them. No escape, fans swarm everywhere. A mighty sight to see.
Mexico City is a big, big place. A 1-mile trip might even take an hour. But it’s that sort of chaos, which makes everything so exciting and special. Everywhere we visit is different in its own unique way.
It wouldn’t be a proper travel blog without a brief shout out to the local cuisine, even though we’re still recovering from the giant portion of American dessert we had last Saturday night. Mexicans love their food (don’t we all…) and will treat us to burritos, quesadillas, tacos, guacamole and chilli con carne to name a few of our favourites.
Wrestling is a bit of a big thing in Mexico. We wouldn’t be too surprised if a few years down the line drivers are encouraged to carry a nickname, have entry music and dob special lucha libre (as it’s called) capes and masks. A bigger thing than wrestling is of course, sombreros. These giant hats were developed as early as the 13th century to shield the sun in extreme conditions. Nowadays, the modern Formula 1 driver will wear one for the weekend to avoid being seen and in turn, skip media duties, marketing appearances and mandatory engineering briefs. Naughty boys.
Mexico is a fun-filled weekend. The atmosphere is electric and non-stop, the food is ace, the moustaches are questionable and the big hats are rather cool; we can’t wait for the fun and games to begin.