Mexico GP organisers "blown away" by crowd numbers
By Alan Baldwin
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican Formula One Grand Prix organisers say Sunday's race attracted an even bigger crowd than in 2015, bucking a trend of lower attendances in an event's second year after the novelty has worn off.
"Once again we are blown away by the support of the Mexican people and the international motorsport fans who travelled from all over the world to attend our race," said Alejandro Soberon, president of promoters CIE.
Figures released by the organisers put the total overall attendance at 339,967 compared to last year's 336,174.
The race day crowd was 135,026, compared to the previous 134,845, and the figures on Friday and Saturday were also higher.
Mexico's race at the capital's Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez returned to the Formula One calendar last year after a 23-year absence, and has been paired with the U.S. Grand Prix in Austin, Texas.
It has become a firm favourite with drivers, even if Sunday's race, won by triple world champion Lewis Hamilton, offered little drama on the track.
"It's just really amazing to see that Mexico has now become one of the top grands prix on the calendar, usually it takes some time for a country to really grow as being one of the best," Hamilton told reporters.
"In terms of the audience it's one of the biggest ones we have, it's really phenomenal that it's only in the second year, and that's just going to keep growing and this is going to be in the top three of grands prix in terms of attendance and atmosphere.
"And maybe the races will get better moving forward to the future."
Next year's race is provisionally scheduled for Nov. 5, ahead of Brazil on Nov. 12 but Soberon told Reuters that pairing could still change.
"We still don't have the final version of the calendar, we're still studying it and are in conversations with Formula One," he said. "But whatever comes, it's going to be fine."
He said more than half of the crowd was coming from outside of Mexico City, and that was expected to grow, and the race could also stand on its own if need be.
(Editing by Ed Osmond)