A Mexican government official has moved to refute comments attributed to her that claimed the Mexican Grand Prix returned due to bribes and corruption.
Ana Gabriela Guevara, the newly appointed head of Mexico’s National Commission for Physical Culture and Sports (CONADE), was quoted by France’s AutoHebdo as saying there are more important things in Mexico than financially supporting a race when “corruption and bribes allowed the Grand Prix to return to Mexico City.”
Following the article, Guevara faced local media in Mexico City and was specifically asked about those comments, to which she replied: “I do not know who wrote those words and who put them out there.
“I did not make those statements … I would never go against an event that is positive for our country.”
Following a request for an explanation, AutoHebdo has retracted the article and published an apology, stating “it appears that we have fallen victim of an unreliable source.”
The overall claim that the race could be under threat was raised following the appointment of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador as the new president of Mexico, but a statement from Mexican Grand Prix race organizers says talks will be held over an extension, while also dismissing suggestions of corruption.
“Comments such as these seek to damage the reputation of the race,” the statement read.
“Both FORMULA 1 GRAN PREMIO DE MÉXICO and OMDAI FIA MÉXICO, 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.
“FORMULA 1 GRAN PREMIO DE MÉXICO 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.
“We are very proud of what we have achieved since the Mexican Grand Prix returned to the Formula 1 calendar in 2015. Our contract runs until 2019 and we look forward to commencing discussions regarding the renewal with all stakeholders in due course.
“These conversations must and will take place in private. We run our event through strict governance, compliance and with full transparency. We will maintain this way of working and ensure that we continue to promote our country in a positive manner.”