Mexico President Could End Funding For Formula 1 Grand Prix
Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador may "pull the plug" on one of the country’s "premier sporting events:" the Formula 1 Grand Prix, according to Jude Webber of the FINANCIAL TIMES. The leftist nationalist, who said on Friday that he was prepared to move his "Republican austerity" up a gear into full-blown "Franciscan poverty," is spending the 400M pesos ($21M) in federal funds "usually earmarked for the Formula 1 event on a rail project in Mexico’s poor south instead." In addition to a government austerity drive -- which includes closing the tourist board -- and "enforced public sector pay cuts," he vowed on Friday to "clamp down on wasteful spending" to "transfer money to the people so there is development, work and wellbeing." That could include the F1 race, which returned to Mexico in '15 after a 23-year gap. The organizers countered that the race "returns double the amount that the government invests." Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said this week that the '19 race would go ahead because the funds were "already in place," but it was an "onerous" commitment. She said, "For 2020, the federal government is no longer contemplating this spending as most of it has been destined for the Maya Train." Sheinbaum: "The issue is how much public funds are invested in this [F1] when there are so many needs in the city." She added that the government was trying to negotiate a cheaper fee with the event organizer, CIE, or "other alternatives." No one at CIE could be reached for comment. The city government had no further details. Despite a "hefty ticket price," the event attracts around 330,000 spectators (FT, 2/1).