Success of returning Mexican GP sets F1 benchmark, says Niki Lauda

Mercedes non-executive chairman Niki Lauda believes the returning Mexican Grand Prix set a new benchmark for Formula 1 events

Success of returning Mexican GP sets F1 benchmark, says Niki Lauda

Despite attendances falling at a number of venues, the return of Mexico to the calendar for the first time in 23 years sparked crowds and scenes rarely seen in F1 in recent years.

More than 300,000 passionate fans attended Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez over the three days, creating a carnival atmosphere the like of which three-time world champion Lauda claims he had never seen throughout his time in F1.

"It was the best I've ever seen in all my life - the best, honestly, what they have produced here; I've never seen so much of this," he said.

"The way they organised it, the way it happened, the whole crowd is going with it and that's it. Unbelievable.

"You could feel the crowd on the grid. Everything worked - the cars, the people, the drivers. It was a perfect interlink, and that's why the race was so successful."

The stadium section, in particular, proved highly memorable, with the circuit scything its way through a packed 30,000-seat amphitheatre.

As to the magic ingredient, Lauda said: "The magic is the Mexicans, the magic are the organisers who made this happen.

"The way they organised the spectator places, for me it was the best I've ever seen, and then the podium right in front of all the people.

"Formula 1 got back to where you could feel it and touch it, and I think this was the most important thing."

Asked as to his message to F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, Lauda replied: "Copy this race for all the others.

"Now [the promoters at other venues] have seen it anyway on television, how good it can be done."

As to whether F1 should return to other more traditional venues, Lauda said: "It all depends if the organisers in South Africa or Argentina are able to do a race like this. It was perfect."

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