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Who is the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez named after?

Jake Nichol November 5, 2021
F1 Grand Prix of Mexico
Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images

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Formula One is back in Mexico this weekend, racing at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in the middle of the city, but who is the track named after?

Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton are separated by just 12 points in the standings with the trip to Mexico beginning the final push to Abu Dhabi.

The Mexico City Grand Prix is the first one on Mexican soil since 2019, once again taking place at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.

It will be the sixth grand prix in Mexico since the race returned to the calendar in 2015.

Photo by Peter J Fox/Getty Images

Who is the track named after?

Translated from Spanish to English, hermanos is brothers.

The circuit is therefore named after the Rodriguez brothers, who were both racing drivers in the 1960s and ’70s.

It was named in honour of Pedro and Ricardo Rodriguez.

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Both Pedro and Ricardo raced in F1 throughout the 1960s, with Pedro later transitioning to sportscars.

It is not a happy story however, as both brothers would be killed at the wheel of a racing car.

What happened to the Rodriguez brothers?

In 1962, having started a handful of grands prix for Ferrari no less, Ricardo was killed.

The team had decided not to enter the 1962 Mexican Grand Prix – a non-championship event.

However, 20-year-old Ricardo wanted to race in his home country in front of his home fans.

Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

He hired a Rob Walker-run Lotus and went out to practice.

However, at the fearsome flat-out right-hander known as the Peraltada, Ricardo crashed after suspension failure.

He was killed instantly by the impact.

To this day, Ricardo is the youngest driver to have ever raced for Ferrari in F1.

What about Pedro?

The second brother the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez is named after is Pedro.

He would go onto make 55 starts in F1 between 1963 and 1971, also including for Ferrari.

At the 1967 South African GP, he became the first Mexican driver to win a world championship F1 race.

He added a second F1 win at the 1970 Belgian GP at the fearsome old Spa-Francorchamps layout.

Photo by Bernard Cahier/Getty Images

These were the days when drivers would also race sportscars as well as compete in a full F1 season.

Indeed, in 1968, Pedro won the Le Mans 24 Hours in a Ford GT alongside Lucien Bianchi – the great-uncle of the late F1 driver Jules Bianchi.

In 1970 at a torrentially wet Brands Hatch in the UK, Pedro put in one of the all-time great wet weather performances.

Driving a Porsche 917K sportscar, he, and teammate Leo Kinnunen won by five laps (below).

Indeed at the start, Pedro had risen from 12th to second in just 15 laps, despite the conditions.

Pedro would be killed at the Nurburgring in 1971 in a sportscar race after a tyre failure sent him into the barriers.

Photo by: GP Library/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

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Jake can usually be found writing about or watching anything to do with motorsport – from Formula 1 to NASCAR to British Truck Racing. His work as a motorsport journalist has been published by the likes of Autosport, Motorsport.com and Motorsport News – all highly respected names. Away from racing he is a keen amateur astronomer, podcast listener and enjoys long walks in the park with his three dogs.