#MexGP: Lucha Libre
2019 FIA Formula One Gran Premio de México – Preview
The masked heroes study each other for what appears to be an interminable time. There are tentative approaches, feints, then a hold is established. The move is swift, relentless, spectacular. The opponent, just a matter of seconds ago proudly, defiantly standing ahead of the fighter, now lays defeated. The crowd loves it.
It could be a scene from any lucha libre bout around Mexico – or the description of an overtaking move during the race that will unfold this weekend at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. For many are the parallels between the traditional wrestling style of this country and the pinnacle of motorsport.
Helmets replace masks, but their appeal, their immediate recognisability and aura of mystery remains, no matter how the crowds’ heroes conceal their faces. Formula One, like lucha libre, has its rudos and its tecnicos – the bad guys and the good guys, playing out their battles on track for the benefit of all onlookers. Storylines are written, traditions established, battles, even feuds narrated. The show unfolds in front of adoring fans – some of the best in motorsport. Reputations are built, records set. Then you move on to the next fight.
Mexico is the backdrop for this weekend’s battle. In our corner, we have a formidable team: the winner of countless battles, the experienced fighter – El Hombre de Hielo, Kimi – and the young charger coming through the ranks – El Hombre Abeja, Antonio. The Arena is set. The masks are ready. Our luchadores are ready for the fight.
Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal Alfa Romeo Racing and CEO Sauber Motorsport AG:
“We approach the final four races of the season with the confidence we can be in the battle for points at each of these events. Everyone in the team is working hard, both at the factory and at the track, to make sure we extract all of our potential. Mexico is a track with unique characteristics – it’s bumpy, the altitude and the thin air have a strong effect on the car and you have very long straights and a slow and twisty middle sector. The practice sessions will be key to set up the car properly for the rest of the weekend, but I think we will be able to show what we can do.”
Kimi Räikkönen (car number 7):
“Mexico gives us a chance to get back in the points. It doesn’t really matter what we did in the past few races, our focus is on the next events and we need to make sure we go out and do our job well. If we do that, we will be in the battle for the points, this is what matters. We know the final four races are very important and we will continue to give 100% to finish the season well.”
Antonio Giovinazzi (car number 99):
“The next two races will be a crucial moment for us. Back-to-backs are always an opportunity to build momentum so it will be important to do well in Mexico and carry on to Austin. I have never raced in Mexico City but I had two practice sessions there and I quite like the track. The layout, with its long straights, reminds me of Monza, but the conditions will be very different due to the altitude. Hopefully our car will suit the circuit well and we will be in the fight for points.”