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Mexican GP seen as rallying point for tragedy-struck nation

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Organisers of the upcoming Mexican GP are hoping their showcase event will embody the country's fighting spirit following the 7.1 magnitude earthquake which hit Mexico City earlier this week.

The event, set to take place on October 29, is still on schedule, with initial examinations of the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez revealing no structural damages.

"We'll continue doing the assessments as we go, but so far there's really no concern - we'll have a race," said Mexican GP press officer and marketing director Rodrigo Sanchez Peraza.

"We need to remain together in the bad and the good, not only in the bad. I think that's a powerful message and something we need to show.

"The same pride you see in the grandstands, we're seeing it in devastation zones right now." 

Organisers are also encouraging support for the country's recovery efforts by donating to UNICEF Mexico, the Mexican Red Cross, Oxfam Mexico and Save the Children Mexico.

Billionaire Carlos Slim, who was instrumental in helping Force India's Sergio Perez reach F1, has set up several foundations destined to help Mexico City and the families of the estimated 250 victims of Tuesday's earthquake.

Perez also pledged support to his homeland by donating three million pesos to the Carlos Slim Foundation.

Mexican GP director Federico Gonzalez believes this year's event will convey an important message. 

"Our priority at the moment is the recovery of the city. We are united with the individuals and families affected," said Gonzalez.

"The Mexican spirit of humanity and determination are a force to be reckoned with and it's heartening to see this in action across the city.

"As demonstrated during the two most recent editions of the Mexico Grand Prix, when the Mexican people come together we achieve incredible things. At this moment, we are all united and working together making sure we get through this.

"We want to reach out to the international community and seek their support over the coming weeks and months; there are lots of ways people can help.

"We deeply appreciate all the support and affection already demonstrated from all over the world."

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