The promoters of the Mexico Cty Grand Prix have been hard at work to reduce the security risk to Formula 1 drivers this weekend.

Last year, the huge swathes of VIPs and members of the public in the paddock led to several drivers being harried and harassed.

Measures introduced include reducing the number of people allowed in the paddock, combined with a marketing campaign to encourage respect for all drivers, with billboards asking fans to leave the rivalries to the drivers out on track.

The topic of paddock safety was brought to the attention of several drivers in Thursday’s Press Conference with AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda seeing it as a positive move.

“Yeah, for me it is easier and I like it,” the AlphaTauri driver briefly summarised.

Estaban Ocon, on the other hand, believes it not to be an issue.

“I think it’s part of what we do, you know, to have fans, supporters and obviously more and more fans, looking at how the sport is going,” he said. “I think it’s a great thing.

“We bring attention to the people and I think it’s just cool to see some atmosphere in the paddock.

“I mean, if we can’t move at all and get to the garage it becomes a problem but I’ve never seen it like that yet.”

Meanwhile, Alex Albon doesn’t feel like the issue lies within the paddock, but going to and from it.

“To be honest with you, I don’t think the paddock has been that bad,” the Williams representative said. “For me it’s more been kind of just getting out of the paddock.

“I don’t know how you guys feel, but sometimes you kind of leave the paddock and almost run over people’s feet because they’re kind of all coming up to your windows and everything.”

Sergio Perez (MEX) Red Bull Racing. 26.10.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 20, Mexican Grand Prix, Mexico City, Mexico, Preparation Day. –, EMail: © Copyright: Bearne / XPB Images

Red Bull team-mates Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen have been the focal points of the billboards the GP promoters have put up encouraging respect.

The home favourite was keen to stress that message when asked. “I think it’s important that we give this message, because I think media likes to create this sort of rivalry outside the track and I think we are a great sport,” the Mexican noted.

“We are a great example for a lot of young generations and we should just be focused on the sport side.

“And whatever happens on track should always stay there and that’s the best message we, as a country, want to give to the rest of the world.”

The likes of Zhou Guanyu, George Russell, Charles Leclerc and Lewis Hamilton all had their say on the issue of paddock safety as well, with Zhou admitting last year was “pretty chaotic.”

“The more the merrier is great but at the end of the day, we’re all here to do a job,” Russell added.

“And last year, we were struggling just to get from our engineers’ office to the garage without people jumping on us and sticking cameras right in our face.

“It was a bit of a strange environment. So yeah, I’m happy for the paddock to be packed as long as we’ve all got a sensible way through to get to where we’ve got to be.”

Leclerc stated that “we have to wait and see” if the issue presents itself again this year, but admitted the crowds in Mexico are what “makes this place special.”

“But it’s true that on our way to the garages it was a little bit too much last year, so let’s see if we found the right balance – I don’t know that yet,” the Ferrari man concluded.

Lewis Hamilton, undoubtedly one of the most famous faces on the grid, said that security helps him to engage with fans – and that without it, that would be harder to achieve.

“Ultimately I do have security just to help me get through crowds, without I wouldn’t be able to move as quickly and swiftly as I do,” the Briton asserted.

“It also enables you to have a better interaction with people so you’re not getting overcrowded.”

But the man the Mexican fans all really want to see, is, of course, Perez and the Mexican’s final thoughts on the matter of paddock safety call for a balance.

“I just want everyone to have a great time in my country and I think that’s something that went over the limit last year, that hopefully this year can be improved, because overall, it’s in my opinion, like the best reception for all the drivers in the world.”

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