Just underneath it there’s a packed street market every weekend with all the atmosphere of a typical Mexican postcard: street food such as tortillas and tostadas is on sale alongside thick woollen jumpers and handicrafts, with the stalls illuminated at night by strings of lights so that the bustle of shoppers can find their way around the square. Walk a little further and you’re suddenly immersed in the narrow streets of old Mexico City, full of churches hidden in courtyards, packed by the faithful day and night, as well as yet more street vendors whose wares consist of more or less anything you can think of. Before long you come across the Zocalo: the largest square in Central America (in fact one of the largest in the world), which is dominated by the Catedral Metropolitana.
The circuit is a long way from here. Not necessarily in terms of kilometres, because everything in Mexico City is so huge that all is relative, but instead by time. It’s the constant traffic that makes getting there a challenge. On Friday morning, with the normal working day commuters choking up every street and junction, getting there by car takes at least an hour – if you’re lucky. It’s a bit better on Saturday and especially on Sunday when the tens of thousands of superannuated commercial vehicles (which make up the bulk of the traffic) are resting, meaning that the traffic resembles something approaching normal. But there’s still a bit of a gulf between Formula 1® and the beating heart of Mexico City.
So this is where the idea came from: fitting out and personalising hotel rooms (or rather suites) with a Formula 1® theme so that fans can relax in their rooms, maybe looking out over the rooftops of the capital, yet still feeling surrounded by the sport that they love. The hotel chain to have thought of this is Hilton, which has been busy decorating one of the suites in the Mexico City Reforma with classic Formula 1® souvenirs. So you might find drivers’ overalls and other memorabilia that symbolise the sport. Obviously Pirelli could not miss out here, also contributing to this unique accommodation concept.
The Mexican suite with an F1® theme was instantly fully booked out. During the week of the grand prix, some lucky fans will be able to sleep surrounded by these precious objects. The suite guests will additionally receive a Pirelli podium cap of the same sort that will be worn by the three drivers to reach the podium on Sunday. Of course there will also be some P Zero tyres as part of the décor, forming a reminder of the one single thing that all the competing cars, from first to last, have in common. These tyres will be at the centre of the action in the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez this weekend, facing up to the record top speeds on the straights and significant lateral forces through the corners that are typical of this race.
One of the most prominent of those corners will be the modern heir to the historic Peraltada, which posed a huge challenge to the Formula 1® drivers of yesterday, characterised by the famous roll there from no less a legend than Ayrton Senna with his McLaren.
Sleeping with Formula 1® is not just a dream. It’s now a reality.