HIGH AND MIGHTY
Another weekend, another belter of a race track. This time, we’re 2,250 metres above sea level in Mexico City, at the fabled Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez. Not only one of the highest circuits in the world, it’s also one of the most exhilarating.
Super-fast, cars will reach speeds in the order of 360km/h along the 1.25km start-finish straight. Super-high, the altitude places unique demands on engines due to reduced air density. And Super-special, the atmosphere on race day is electric – the chanting from the vast sea of spectators enough to make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck.
Frankly, Manor Racers Pascal Wehrlein and Esteban Ocon can’t wait to race here. And Racing Director Dave Ryan is also excited to be back.
Formula 1 Gran Premio de México 2016
Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, Mexico City
28-29-30 October 2016
Pascal, what have you been up to since the race in Austin last Sunday? And how do you like Mexico City?”
“I had a day off on Monday, which I spent exploring Austin a little more. On Tuesday I travelled here to Mexico City and it was really interesting flying over the city before we landed – so many people living here! On Wednesday I played football with a few of the other drivers and some Mexican professional players. We played on a pitch on top of a shopping mall; I guess there isn’t much space on the ground! It was a lot of fun and a nice way to get pumped ready for the weekend.”
What are your on-track objectives?
“Austin went well overall but we didn’t achieve our objective of finishing ahead of Sauber. They remain our main competitor right now and we have to keep them behind us for the rest of the season – especially in the Constructors’ table. It’s too early to know how well this track will favour our car, but I’m looking forward to getting to know another new circuit and finding a good set-up so we can have a nice battle here.”
Esteban, first time racing at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez. What are you thinking?”
“Two big stand-out features I think. The first, that it’s a really fast circuit with long straights and one of the highest top speeds of the season. Also, the atmosphere – I hear it’s amazing, especially on race day. I can’t wait to try both of those things for myself!”
And what do you think of the city so far?”
“It looks really cool, but I think there will be less opportunity to explore. Austin was great because downtown everything is condensed into a reasonably small area. Mexico City is definitely not a reasonably small area! I was expecting ‘big’, but it’s still really surprising to see. So, I think the racetrack will be where we’re spending most of our time this week and it looks pretty cool, so I’m happy for that. It also has a lot of rich history, so it’s been nice talking to Dave (Ryan) and Pat (Fry) over the past couple of days about some of their stories from the ‘old days’. My engineer Juan is also Mexican, so as well as him knowing the track really well, I get great tips on where to find the best Tacos!”
Dave, as you said in Austin, we did a good job of ‘managing our championship position’. Only three races remaining, but in many ways that feels like an eternity!
“Yes, only three races, but that’s still a lot of fighting left to do. We’ve done really well to maintain our position since Austria, but the shape of a Grand Prix can change in an instant. Although at the end of the race the Saubers finished 14th and 15th, for a time there they were running higher than that and that certainly focuses our attentions on the pit wall and also back at base, where we’re pushing hard to bring smaller developments to the car all the way to the end of the season. We need to optimise car and team performance at every step of the weekend and we’re very fortunate to have two drivers who understand that, right now, the best result for the team is the team result.”