FIA inspect proposed Mexican GP circuit

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The FIA has inspected the proposed circuit for the Mexican Grand Prix that is scheduled to be held next November, going back-to-back with the United States Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas.

A draft 2014 schedule was released earlier this month featuring twenty-one races, with Mexico returning to the fray having last hosted a grand prix in 1992. The Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez circuit is thought to require major upgrades if it is to be fit to host the race next year, with leading track designer Hermann Tilke set to take on the task.

A representative from Tilke’s design company was present at the track inspection, alongside race director Charlie Whiting, FIA vice president Jose Abed and former organizer of the US GP in Austin Tavo Hellmund, whose attention has now switched to the race in Mexico.

The finalized calendar is yet to be released with the ‘draft’ schedule being considered by the World Motor Sport Council at the end of the month when it convenes in Croatia.

Having inspected the circuit, the delegates from the FIA will now be able to make a final decision on whether the return of the Mexican Grand Prix is truly viable. Although the proposed grand prix at New Jersey did not feature on the draft calendar, the officials at Port Imperial are confident that the race will go ahead.

Brown: Dennis would have made same decision on McLaren-Honda split

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Zak Brown believes former McLaren team boss Ron Dennis would have made the same decision to cut ties with struggling Formula 1 engine partner Honda had he still been in charge at the team in 2017.

McLaren executive director Brown helped engineer a deal for the team to split with Honda at the end of the 2017 season after three tough seasons that had seen the Japanese manufacturer offer little in the way of performance or reliability.

The decision split opinion, with McLaren spurning a significant annual financial injection from Honda in order to link up with Renault, believing its on-track fortunes had to be prioritized over its commercial interests.

In an interview with Sky Sports, Brown was asked if he believed Dennis – McLaren’s long-running team chief before stepping down at the end of 2016 – would have made the same decision to cut ties with Honda.

“I think he would have,” Brown said.

“He was here when those conversations were ongoing and I think Ron always has and always will have the best interests of McLaren in his heart.

“He is Mr. McLaren. It burns him inside as much as us not to see us winning races.”

Brown also elaborated on the decision to break off the much-lauded relationship with Honda, saying the first signs of trouble with the 2017 power unit were clear in pre-season.

After a number of attempts to try and rectify the situation, Brown and his fellow team bosses felt there was no alternative but to end the Honda deal for 2018.

“We knew we were in trouble in testing in Barcelona and we worked really hard for six months to try and find solutions that would give us confidence that we’d be much more competitive in 2018,” Brown said.

“Ultimately, after trying many different things and many different ways we felt we couldn’t get there.

“Three years is a long time in Formula 1 and so we needed to change the direction to get our team back at the top.”