Mexican official, promoters reject GP 'bribery' reports

Mexico City - Circuit atmosphere. 25.10.2018.
ยฉ XPB 

The head of Mexicoโ€™s National Commission for Physical Culture and Sports has fiercely refuted reports that she had said that the Mexican Grand Prix was the result of bribery and corruption.

Former athlete Ana Gabriela Guevara was quoted last week by Franceโ€™s AutoHebdo as saying "a lot of bribes were paid to bring this event to the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez."

But Guevara has now told local media in Mexico City that she never said any such thing.

โ€œI do not know who wrote those words and who put them out there," she said when asked about the reports, which have subsequently been retracted.

โ€œI did not make those statements," she insisted. "I would never go against an event that is positive for our country.โ€

According to reports at RACER, AutoHebdo has since admitted it appeared that "we have fallen victim of an unreliable source.โ€

The quotes were contained in a story about the future of the Mexico Grand Prix which was also reported at F1i.com. Our original report has also been updated in accordance with the correction.

The new Mexican national government has indicated that it is unlikely to continue financially supporting the event at the same level beyond its current contract which expires after 2019, given other spending priorities.

But race organisers insist that talks will be held in due course to determine the future of the event and that nothing has so far been decided.

โ€œWe are very proud of what we have achieved since the Mexican Grand Prix returned to the Formula 1 calendar in 2015," a statement from the promoters read.

"Our contract runs until 2019 and we look forward to commencing discussions regarding the renewal with all stakeholders in due course," it said, adding: โ€œThese conversations must and will take place in private."

The promoters also addressed the reports of bribery and corruption and robustly rejected and denied any such allegations, insisting that: "Comments such as these seek to damage the reputation of the race.

โ€œBoth Formula 1 Gran Premio de Mรฉxico and Omdai FIA Mรฉxico have invariably acted in strict adherence to corporate governance codes and processes in order to ensure full compliance with the rules and regulations around the world.

"We run our event through strict governance, compliance and with full transparency," the statement continued. "We will maintain this way of working and ensure that we continue to promote our country in a positive manner.

โ€œFormula 1 Gran Premio de Mรฉxico has proven to be an invaluable platform to boost tourism and convey a positive image of Mexico to the world.

"In addition, it helps create economic growth as well as thousands of direct and indirect jobs for Mexicans."

The success of the event was recognised by being handed the Best Promoter award at this month's FIA Prize Giving in St Petersburg, Russia for the fourth year in succession.

The vibrant post-race podium ceremony at the disused Foro Sol baseball stadium, the former home of the Diablos Rojos del Mexico squad, had been a particular hit with fans.

This year's race saw Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton clinch his fifth drivers championship, while Red Bull's Max Verstappen claimed his second win of the season. Afterwards, the crowd was treated to a set from international superstar dance music DJ Armin van Buuren.

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