Mexican Grand Prix Preview: Mexico City, October 29-November 1
For the first time in 23 years, Formula One returns to Mexico at a reworked version of the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City, named after Mexico’s two most famous drivers: brothers Pedro and Ricardo Rodriguez.
The circuit was originally built in 1962 in a public park, and that is not the only similarity to Monza. There are some fast straights and rapid corners that are quite similar to those of Pirelli’s home track, with the P Zero White medium and P Zero Yellow soft tires having been nominated for the inaugural Mexican Grand Prix of the modern era.
The current circuit has been heavily revised, but still maintains plenty of the character of the original. However, with no real data from the track, Pirelli has relied instead on computer simulation to prepare for the race and decide which compounds will be most suitable.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director: “It’s very exciting for us to come to Mexico, to a brand new circuit but one that is steeped in tradition at the same time. Nominating the compounds for a new track is not without its challenges, but simulation – one of the most important areas of growth in Formula One technology recently – is very accurate now, although it’s inevitable that we would incline towards a more conservative choice during the first year at a new track. As always, we are still aiming for two pit stops at the Mexican Grand Prix, but the uncertain weather that is affecting a large part of North America during the next week or so will clearly have a big influence. The track has been designed with overtaking in mind, so together with the different options for strategy that will become clearer during a very important free practice day on Friday, there is clear potential for an entertaining race that allows drivers to move up through the field.”
The biggest challenges for the tires: The best-known corner is the fast and long right-hander called Peraltada (the final corner before the pit straight) but only half of the original profile has been retained, for safety reasons. The first half of the original Peraltada has now been replaced with a technical stadium section, similar to Hockenheim.
The circuit has the highest altitude of any Formula One venue all year: this affects both aerodynamics (as the engineers have to put on more wing to get the same effect in the thin air) as well as top speed. The turbocharged cars are expected to exceed 330kph on the 1.3-kilometre straight.
Extreme weather is currently affecting a large part of North America. This makes the weather forecast uncertain over the next few days, with a strong probability of adverse conditions in the aftermath of Hurricane Patricia.
Expected performance gap between the two compounds: 1.3 seconds per lap (estimated).