Mexican president to cut grand prix funding to pay for railway
The president of Mexico has suggested the country’s Formula 1 race will not receive state support, as the event fights for its future on the calendar.
The organisers received government funding, reported by the Financial Times to be worth around £16million, in order to revive the race after a 23-year absence.
However, the country's president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has said that money will be spent on a multi-billion-pound, almost-1000-mile long railway project. The Mayan Train aims to connect the ancient site of Palenque with the east-coast tourist resort Cancun.
At a press conference on Tuesday morning, ‘AMLO’ – as he is known – said: “I do not know how the F1 contracts are. If they are not signed, we will not be able to.
“In some cases, events were financed by the tourism development fund and that fund is committed to the construction of the Mayan train. We do not know in what situation these contracts [with F1] are. We are going to review them.
“We will continue to support all sports but with austerity, without excess, without waste.”
The Mexican GP is one of several races that does not have a deal beyond 2019, but it recently distanced itself from criticism of F1's owner Liberty Media from a collection of race promoters.
It is understood that the organisers will discuss the future of the event with the Mexican government and F1 when possible, with the intention of striking a deal to keep it on the calendar.
Last year the promoter claimed the event made a $1.3billion (£994.8m) economic impact across its first three years, which it said was “12.2 times the original investment”.
That would put the ‘original investment’ of the first three races at around $106m (£81.1m).
It was also claimed that the race had attracted more than one million attendees in its first three years, generated 31,600 jobs and $248m worth of earnings. The move to cut funding for the F1 race had been hinted at earlier this month by one of the president’s allies.
AMLO, a left-wing politician and former Mexico City mayor, won the Mexican presidency last summer and assumed it at the start of December with a mission to “purify public life” in the country.
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