The legend of the Rodriguez brothers is still intact: very few brothers have left their mark on racing in the way that Pedro and Ricardo did. Ricardo was two years younger and more talented but they both burst onto the international racing scene in the 1950s like a hurricane and immediately served notice of intent. Pure speed and all-round adaptability took them all the way to Formula 1® but also allowed them to triumph in endurance races. It was the Rodriguez brothers who kindled in the Mexican population its love of racing today. Their talent was simply down to pure instinct: a question of genes maybe, given that their father was a motorbike stunt rider.
It was the crest of this wave that brought Mexico City into Formula 1® in 1963, where it remained until 1970. In those eight different editions there were seven different winners. First Jim Clark triumphed in the year of his first world title; then it was Dan Gurney and Richie Ginther, John Surtees, Clark again, Graham Hill and Denny Hulme. The last win in 1970 went to Jacky Ickx and Ferrari. Afterwards, nothing. This was largely down to poor maintenance, which did not allow a circuit so closely associated with speed to be kept up to the safety and efficiency standards that were required. The long pit straight after the Peraltada hairpin was more suited to cars without aerodynamic downforce: in any case the bumpy surface made it especially dangerous at high speed. So the F1® circus fell out of love with its Mexican home and 15 years followed with no Mexican Grand Prix. When Formula 1® returned to Mexico City it was 1986, in the midst of the turbo era. The cars were putting out around 1000 horsepower in qualifying, leading to equally spectacular races. The circuit named after the Rodriguez brothers was a natural choice for a triumphant return to racing’s top level.