F1 legend, Emerson Fittipaldi has been appointed as the official ambassador for the returning F1 Mexican GP. His onerous official duties include, meeting with the fans and acting as a spokesperson for the event when the ‘Tilkered’ Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez plays host to F1 between 30th October and 1st November.
On accepting the appointment, Fittipaldi said: “I am truly honoured to take on this role as the official ambassador for the Formula 1 Gran Premio de Mexico. I have such special memories of racing here back in the seventies, the track was really something else. I don’t think I had my finest performances here however nothing can take away from the incredible atmosphere created by the Mexican fans, their passion and positive energy is superb.
“I’ll never forget Pedro Rodriguez coming to me before my first race there and asking me if I spoke Spanish, I said I spoke a little, he then asked me to accompany him around the circuit to ask the incredibly enthusiastic fans to step back behind the barriers so that we could actually start the race!
“Having had a close look at what CIE have done with the new track, I feel envious of the current F1 drivers, especially. What they have created is a great combination of the thrill of the old track combined with a more modern approach to F1 circuit design.
“And from a fan perspective the event experience will be incredible, especially if you are lucky enough to sit in the area where the track runs between the two grandstands at Foro Sol, you won’t just see it and hear it, you will feel it! With Checo Pérez and Esteban Gutiérrez flying the flag for México I think fans would be crazy to miss out on the opportunity to see F1 return here after 23 years.”
Emerson is apparently someone the fans ‘can relate and connect to’ despite him retiring from Formula One 35 years ago. He then joined the USA open wheel ‘Cart’ racing series and won the drivers’ title in 1989.
Fittipaldi won two Indy 500 races (1989 and 1993) though upset CART fans when after his final victory when he broke with Indianapolis tradition, drinking a glass of orange juice instead of the ceremonial milk after the race.
The Brazilian won two F1 drivers’ championships and Rodrigo Sanchez, the Director of Marketing for the Formula 1 Gran Premio de México, stated: “We wanted someone who could really capture the spirit and energy of our event, someone who our fans can relate to and connect with, Emerson fit the bill perfectly.
“To this day he remains an absolute motorsport hero here in México, not only for his success in F1 but also in Indycar and his wins at the Indy 500. Emerson achieved great success in his driving career but more importantly he has gone on to do great work within motorsport and he has made the most of his profile with his philanthropic endeavours, we are extremely proud to call him our official ambassador.”
Mexico are reputedly designing a global tourism marketing plan to be launched in conjunction with Formula One’s return to the Central American country.