There are only two races that cover Latin America on the Formula One calendar and the first of them will feature this weekend when Lewis Hamilton hopes to win his fourth world championship at the Mexican Grand Prix.
It’s not inconceivable that there will be three in the near future though, as potentially joining Mexico and Brazil are Argentina who are among a list of countries who are being considered to hold a grand prix from as soon as 2019.
Formula One racing isn’t a new concept to Argentina having held 20 races between in 1953 and 1998 at its Buenos Aires Circuit which was initially (and rather vainly) named ‘El Autodromo 17 de Octobre’ by Argentina president Juan Peron in reference to the day he came to power.
From 1990 it was renamed ‘Autodromo Oscar Alfredo Galvez’ after the former Argentine driver, with his brother ‘Juan’ added to the circuit’s name in 2008.
The circuit has many configurations but was always held in the early season, with its heyday coming in the mid-1970s to 1981 when on the fast No 15 layout home favourite Carlos Reutemann drew packed crowds.
A return in the 1990s to a slower track and without a successful local driver quickly saw the circuit dropped due to a lack of money being made by the promoters of the race.
Here are two onboard laps of the contrasting circuits, with Jean-Pierre Jabouille guiding you around with his Renault in 1979, while Michael Schumacher provides the 1990s laps in his Ferrari.
All eyes are on the future in Argentina over grand prix racing, but Sportsmail takes a look at its past in our picture special.
Buenos Aires’s debut was also the first world championship grand prix outside Europe (excluding the Indy 500) but with up to 400,000 attending the day would end in tragedy. Around the circuit spectators encroached the track and one incident led to Nino Farina spinning into the crowd. Around 13 people were killed on the afternoon in a race won by Alberto Ascari (10)
The battle out in front is between a Ferrari and a Lancia of Alberto Ascari but it’s the man behind them that’s on the charge, with Juan Manuel Fangio at the wheel of the dominant Mercedes W196 going on to win his home race in 1955. Fangio’s biggest battle was likely the conditions with temperatures hitting 40 degrees celsius – a record for an F1 race
The beginning of the end for front engined Formula One cars came at the 1958 Argentine Grand Prix. Stirling Moss’s Cooper Climax brought a first victory for rear engines in the sport and also a first win for a privateer team as the Brit crosses the line to take the chequered flag in front of packed grandstands (and roofs!) to open up the season
After 1960 there was a 12-year absence from racing in Argentina before F1 returned in 1972 on a slightly shorter version of the track, with the entry and exit concerning the Horquillo hairpin trimmed. World champion Jackie Stewart got his title defence off to a flying start with a win having led all 95 laps. He shows off his trophy alongside McLaren’s second placed Denny Hulme
A helicopter flies low to capture the drama as Mike Beuttler’s March passes under in 1973 in a race won by Emerson Fittipaldi. This was the final year of the circuit’s short configuration before two long straights either side of a lake that were joined by a long right hand turn were added for 1974. It was enough to add an estimated 40 seconds to the lap time
There was high drama on the faster No 15 configuration’s debut with home favourite Carlos Reutemann set for victory until his Brabham dramatically started to run out of fuel on the penultimate lap before grinding to a halt soon after. Snatching the win was McLaren’s Denny Hulme (above) and it was the 1967 world champion’s last victory in Formula One
It’s unclear what Carlos Reutemann is trying to explain to Brabham chiefs Gordon Murray (left) and Bernie Ecclestone in 1975 but it might be something along the lines of ‘this Goodyear plate is rather blocking my view’. Despite recording four podiums (including two second places) the Argentine would never win his home grand prix
With the No 1 on his McLaren, James Hunt started his championship defence in 1977 at the Argentine Grand Prix by taking pole position and looking in good shape to win in Buenos Aires after 31 laps. But a suspension failure put him out the race and allowed Jody Scheckter to take the first ever victory for the Wolf team
Patrick Tambay (left) and Gilles Villeneuve as team-mates? They may have similar overalls but this 1978 picture of the pair conversing is actually two rivals together in the pit-lane as McLaren’s Tambay sits alongside the Ferrari driver during the weekend of the season opening race in Buenos Aires. Tambay would finish sixth, Villeneuve in eighth
At the wheel of the Williams, Clay Regazzoni (above) finished tenth in the 1979 season opener which was notable for a huge multi-car crash on the first lap that took out a number of key players near the front. Still it wasn’t enough to give Reutemann his much coveted home victory as he had to settle for second place behind Ligier’s race winner Jacques Laffite
Colin Chapman’s Lotus 81 was a flop – taking just one podium throughout the 1980 campaign. It made its debut in Argentina and both cars retired, with Elio de Angelis (above) forced out after just seven laps with a suspension failure. The Buenos Aires podium featured F1’s next three world champions in order with Alan Jones winning from Nelson Piquet and Keke Rosberg
Juan Manuel Fangio brings an end to grand prix racing in Argentina for 14 years as he shows the chequered flag to compatriot Carlos Reutemann who again was the ‘nearly man’ on home soil after finishing behind race winner Nelson Piquet in 1981 – much to the disappointment of locals packing the grandstands and those with good vantage points on the roofs above them
Formula One made a wet and wild return to Argentina in 1995. Practice and qualifying were hit by heavy rain as Michael Schumacher splashes his way round the No 6 circuit – which was a return to the shortened track last used in 1972 but with an added infield section used after the first turn to extend the circuit. It wasn’t a popular move
Pole position man David Coulthard leads the way at the restart of the race – the first start brought out a red flag after a series of crashes – but it was his Williams team-mate Damon Hill who took victory in Buenos Aires. A glance to the left and you will Mika Hakkinen’s McLaren suffering a left rear tyre failure following a collision with Jordan’s Eddie Irvine
A year later and it was Hill again who would take a simple victory from pole position as he leads the run down into turn one before leading all 72 laps in Buenos Aires. The Williams driver though was denied a weekend grand slam by Benetton’s Jean Alesi who took the fastest lap on his way to a third place finish behind the all conquering FW18s of Hill and Jacques Villeneuve
The most alarming moment of the 1996 race happened while under the safety car. Pedro Diniz’s Ligier burst into a ball of flames before spinning into the gravel trap, with the Brazilian thankfully escaping unharmed despite the fire having burned on top of his his crash helmet. Nearby marshalls were quickly on the scene to extinguish the flames
Michael Schumacher comes face-to-face with his future team-mate but not in a manner he might have expected. The Ferrari driver crashed into Rubens Barrichello’s Stewart at the start of the 1997 race forcing him to retire, with his actual team-mate Eddie Irvine going on to take second place behind race winner Jacques Villeneuve
Heinz-Harald Frentzen was a disappointment at Williams and never hit the heights expected of him after he was touted as the new and improved replacement for Damon Hill. But even by his Williams standards his 1998 Argentine Grand Prix weekend got off to a rotten start after driving straight into Esteban Tuero’s Minardi during practice
But it was David Coulthard who produced the biggest error of the weekend, running wide to allow Michael Schumacher a chance to pass. The Ferrari driver dived down the inside and in doing so put the Scot into a spin before taking the lead and eventually the race victory in what is to date the last Argentine Grand Prix in Formula One
The sun has long since set on Argentina’s last F1 race but a return to Buenos Aires is in the pipeline. F1 race director Charlie Whiting has visited the circuit recently and it among the list of countries that could feature on the calendar in 2019
LIST OF BUENOS AIRES WINNERS
1953: Alberto Ascari (Ferrari)
1954: Juan Manuel Fangio (Maserati)
1955: Juan Manuel Fangio (Mercedes)
1956: Juan Manuel Fangio/Luigi Musso (Ferrari)
1957: Juan Manuel Fangio (Maserati)
1958: Stirling Moss (Cooper)
1960: Bruce McLaren (Cooper)
1972: Jackie Stewart (Tyrrell)
1973: Emerson Fittipaldi (Lotus)
1974: Denny Hulme (McLaren)
1975: Emerson Fittipaldi (McLaren)
1977: Jody Scheckter (Wolf)
1978: Mario Andretti (Lotus)
1979: Jacques Laffite (Ligier)
1980: Alan Jones (Williams)
1981: Nelson Piquet (Brabham)
1995: Damon Hill (Williams)
1996: Damon Hill (Williams)
1997: Jacques Villeneuve (Williams)
1998: Michael Schumacher (Ferrari)