Mexican Grand Prix – Race Preview

AUTÓDROMO HERMANOS RODRÍGUEZ – MEXICO CITY

Mex GPF1 returns to Mexico City for the first time since 1992, here is everything you need to know about the newly revamped Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez ready for today’s race.

The track is notable for being at the highest altitude of the season at 2,229m above sea level, three times higher than any other track! This provides a unique challenge for the teams, as the altitude increases the air becomes thinner meaning that oxygen supply to the engine is approximately 23% less than it would be at sea level. In order to compensate for the lack of oxygen entering the ICE the turbo spins 8% faster and the engine revs much higher than normal. Additionally, the cars create much less downforce whilst at the same time struggle to keep the key components cool, all of these factors could cause reliability issues during the race.

The track is 4.304km in length and is made up of seventeen corners and two straights, the longest of which is 1.2km. Even though the teams are running Monaco levels of downforce, they are only producing Monza levels of drag. As a result, they will reach some of the fastest speeds of the season.

The key overtaking areas on the track will be at the end of the two DRS straights, the first at the end of the start/finish straight and the second into turn 4. These are likely to be the two most critical parts of the opening lap, when the cars are struggling with cold tyres and the full 100kg fuel load.

The race should be a fascinating balance between power down the two long straights in sector one and being able to generate enough downforce through the twisty second and third sectors. Not for the first time this season, Honda and Renault could be in for difficult Sunday afternoon. Although Red Bull, Toro Rosso and McLaren are all strong through the final two sectors, they are losing too much time on the straights compared to their Mercedes and Ferrari powered counterparts. This is highlighted in the speed trap with the fastest Renault powered car 13.3kmph down and sole McLaren 18.4kmph down. This speed deficit is likely to be exaggerated when the DRS is activated on the car behind.

Race Predictions

1st – Lewis Hamilton
2nd – Nico Rosberg
3rd – Sebastian Vettel

However, with the threat of rain still 30% and the high probability of unreliability problems the race could be as unpredictable as last weekend’s US GP! All eyes will be on Rosberg, the pole sitter for todays race, as he battles it out with his team mate down to the first corner.

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