Just a few days on from the United States Grand Prix, the North American double-header concludes with the Mexico City race. As always it takes place at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez.
Features. The track has some unusual features, including the longest distance from the start line to the braking point for the first corner, at 811 metres. The entire track underwent a significant change for F1’s return to Mexico in 2015, with a fairly flowing first sector, while the middle part was modified to make it quicker. The final sector has completely changed, now favouring a car with good traction, as the wonderful old “Peraltada”, the Spanish word for a parabolic corner, was replaced with a slow Arena section, where the track actually passes under the massive grandstand. That of course is packed with local fans who only have eyes for their hero, Sergio “Checo” Perez, although the sporting and knowledgeable crowd also show their appreciation for the other competitors. There are 17 corners on the 4.304 kilometre track, with three DRS zones. On Sunday, the cars will cover 71 laps, a distance of 305.354 kilometres.
Where the air is rarefied. The truly unique feature of this venue is that it is the highest above sea level on the calendar, at 2.238 metres. The air is rarefied which means its oxygen density is around a quarter down on what it would be at sea level.
Free practice 1 Friday October 28, 13-14 local (19-20 CEST)
Free practice 2 Friday October 28, 16-17.30* local (23-0.30 CEST)*
Free practice 3 Saturday October 29, 12-13 local (19-20 CEST)
Qualifying Saturday October 29, 15 local (22 CEST)
Race Sunday October 30, 14 local (21 CET)
*90-minute session to allow Pirelli to test 2023 compounds
Three questions to...
THOMAS BOUCHÉ, HEAD OF AERODYNAMIC TRACK PERFORMANCE GROUP
1. Can you talk us through the roots of your passion for motorsport. Where does it come from and how did you come to be at Ferrari?
"My passion for motorsport and Formula 1 started at quite an early age, fueled by the Prost-Senna battles and by having French drivers, Prost but also Jean Alesi, at the Scuderia in the early 90s. I had growing interests in technological innovations and developments that are very unique to Formula 1, and also spent a few years behind the wheel in junior formulas and feeder series. After a Master’s Degree in Aerospace Engineering, I started gaining experience in lower formula categories and as a race engineer in Sportscar championships, before joining Formula 1 in 2007, eventually in charge of aerodynamic development groups. As an engineer and Formula 1 enthusiast, joining Scuderia Ferrari was a strong goal of mine and the opportunity finally happened early in 2018".
2. Can you talk us about the track at Mexico City? Which are the more relevant characteristics?
"The truly unique aspect of the Mexico City circuit is its elevation: 2.238 metres above sea level, which means the air density is 20% less than at sea level. It is a short lap, one of the shortest on the calendar, but nevertheless features a long straight, almost 1.300 kilometres, where the majority of the overtaking happens in the race. The modern layout that has been in use since 2015 doesn’t have particularly challenging high speed cornering sectors, especially since the last corner, the glorious “Peraltada”, was replaced with a very low speed and twisty stadium section. Low speed cornering actually dominates, and makes traction capabilities a key factor on this track".
3. We are racing at more than 2.000 meters above sea level, but despite the long straights the cars will be adopting a high downforce configuration. Can you explain what does it mean to race in thin air?
"The air density reduction due to the high altitude is one of the biggest challenges of the season: the aerodynamic forces are considerably reduced and we end up with low downforce loads, Monza equivalent, whilst running front and rear wing configurations used in Monaco. The turbocharged engines mean that power unit efficiency is only affected by a small amount and so acceleration and top speed capabilities, helped by reduced aerodynamic drag, are one of the highest of the calendar. This brings considerable challenges on the engine and brake cooling fronts: current Formula 1 cars have not been designed and optimised to operate in this very particular window and so these aspects will be closely monitored and managed throughout the weekend. It can even become critical in close racing, when running in dirty air following other cars".
Born on 15/6/1981
in Dijon (France)
GP contested 1049
Seasons in F1 73
Debut Monaco 1950 (A. Ascari 2°; R. Sommer 4°; L. Villoresi rit.)
Wins 242 (23.07%)
Pole positions 242 (23.07%)
Fastest laps 259 (24.69%)
Total podiums 796 (25.29%)
Ferrari Stats Grands Prix in Mexico
GP contested 20
Debut 1963 Mexican GP (J. Surtees ret.; L. Bandini ret.)
Wins 2 (10%)
Pole positions 3 (15%)
Fastest laps 5 (25%)
Total podiums 11 (18.33%)
Mexico City GP: facts & figures
2,8. The maximum gradient change at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, the lowest of the season, at the track which is actually the highest above sea level of all the venues on the calendar.
4-3. The result of the “Partido del Siglo”, the “Match of the Century”, the 9th World Cup semi-final between Italy and West Germany which took place in Mexico City’s Azteca stadium on 17 June 1970. The match went to extra time, with Italy winning 4-3, the advantage going back and forth between the two teams. The level of excitement and the fact that five of the seven goals came in extra time, is what earned this match the title of the best example ever of the beautiful game.
6. Mexican drivers who have taken part in at least one round of the Formula 1 World Championship. Four of them have some sort of link to Scuderia Ferrari. Charles and Carlos are often battling on track with Sergio Perez, who has four wins and 232 GP starts to his name and who went through the Ferrari Driver Academy, before racing for Sauber, making his Grand Prix debut in 2011. The only other Mexican to have won in the blue riband category is Pedro Rodriguez, who won twice from 54 starts (1963-1971) and raced for Scuderia Ferrari both in Formula 1 and in Endurance racing. The numbers are made up by Esteban Gutierrez, who at one point was a test driver for the Scuderia, with 59 races and 6 points (2013-2016); Hector Rebaque (41 GPs and 13 points between 1977 and 1981); Moises Solana (8 GPs between 1963 and 1968) and the very talented Ricardo Rodriguez, Pedro’s younger brother, who was discovered by Scuderia Ferrari and made his debut with the team in Mexico in 1961, aged just 19, at the time the youngest Formula 1 driver ever. He took part in five races, scoring four points but sadly lost his life in 1962 at the Mexico City track at the wheel of a Lotus in a non-championship Formula 1 race.
7. The number, in millions, of Mexico City inhabitants who use the subway every day, equivalent to over 25% of the population. It has a large network, with 12 lines totalling a distance of over 200 kilometres, with 195 stations.
16. The number of boroughs that make up Mexico City, which has a total population of 9.2 million. The most populated area is Iztapalapa, with 1.8 million inhabitants, while the least densely populated is Milpa Alta with only 152,685. If one includes the outer district known as Zona Metropolitana del Valle de Mexico, the population rises to almost 23 million.