LOOKING AHEAD TO MEXICO

Our official race previews are your guide for every lap of every race in 2017.
Hear from the team, drivers and management as we prepare for round 18 of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship at Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez .
Follow McLaren TEAMStream for all the build-up to the Mexican Grand Prix.

LOWDOWN

Race title FORMULA 1 GRAN PREMIO DE MEXICO 2017
Circuit name Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez
First race 1963
Previous winners
2016 Lewis Hamilton, 71 laps, 1:40:31.402s
2015 Nico Rosberg
1992 Nigel Mansell
History lesson Mexico’s passion for Formula 1 began with the Rodriguez brothers in the early ’60s. Pedro and Ricardo Rodriguez both raced in F1 and generated a huge following back home, which led to the inaugural World Championship Mexican Grand Prix in 1963. The race at the Magdalena Sports City circuit stayed on the calendar until 1979, before returning in ’86 for seven years at the re-named Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez. The race then reappeared on the F1 calendar in 2015

TRAVEL

City Mexico City
Time zone BST-6/CET-7
Population 8.8 million
How far? Mexico City is 8,929km (5,548 miles) from the McLaren Technology Centre
Getting there The back-to-back nature of the United States and Mexican Grands Prix means the pre set-up crew arrive in Mexico while the team is racing in Austin. An F1 charter flight carries the rest of the team from Austin to Mexico City on the Monday between the two events
Surprising fact Mexico City is built on what was formerly Lake Texcoco. The foundations are soft and the city is sinking by about four inches per year
Local speciality Mexican food is a gastronomic delight, wherever you are in the country. But nowhere do the food choices get more eclectic than in Mexico City, from the 11-course meals available at the St Regis hotel to the delicious street food available all over the city. One such dish, available from vendors on the Paseo de la Reforma, is Esquites. It’s roasted corn, mayonnaise, cheese, hot pepper and lime, all layered in a takeaway cup
Weather The weather in Mexico City is often cloudy and humid at this time of year. The long-range weather forecast predicts temperatures of 22 degrees and a 30 per cent chance of rain

TRACK

Track length 4.304km/2.674 miles (second-shortest track of the year – longest: Spa-Francorchamps, shortest: Monaco)
2016 pole position Lewis Hamilton, 1m18.704s
2016 fastest lap Daniel Ricciardo, 1m21.134s (lap 53)
Lap record 1:20.521s (Nico Rosberg, 2015)
Tyre choice Purple Ultrasoft, red Supersoft and yellow Soft – the ninth time this combination has been used in 2017
Distance to Turn One 800m/0.497 miles (longest of season)
Longest straight 1.314km/0.816 miles, on the approach to Turn One (longest of the season: Baku, 2.1km/1.305 miles)
Top speed 345km/h/214mph, on the approach to Turn One (fastest of season: Monza, 360km/h/224mph)
Full throttle 47 per cent (highest of the season: Monza, 75 per cent)
Brakewear High. There are 12 braking zones, three of which are heavy. But the thin air and resultant cooling issues make this a race of high attrition for the brakes
Fuel consumption 1.45kg per lap, which is low
ERS demands High. The combination of long straights and high altitude make this one of the hardest races of the year for the ERS
Gear changes 44 per lap/3,124 per race

RACE

Laps 71 laps
Start time 13:00hrs local/19:00hrs GMT/20:00hrs CET
Grid advantage There is a slight grid advantage, where the racing line is located, but the lack of downforce is the greater issue for the drivers. The cars are power-limited for longer away from the line, which can spice things up on the long run down to Turn One
DRS There are two DRS zones, on the approaches to Turns One and Four
Don’t put the kettle on…All of last year’s podium finishers completed the race with two pitstops. A Virtual Safety Car period during the second pitstop window allowed Nico Rosberg to jump ahead of Daniel Ricciardo in second place in what was otherwise an uneventful strategic race. Although Pirelli is taking softer compounds to this year’s race, the durability of the 2017 tyres means a one-stop race is likely, with cars pitting on or about lap 30
Pitlane length/Pitstops 650m/0.404 miles (longest of the season: Silverstone, 457m/0.283 miles). It takes 18s to make a stop
Safety Car likelihood 100 per cent. Since Mexico reappeared on the Formula 1 calendar in 2015, the races have all been affected by a Safety Car or a Virtual Safety Car period. There’s a high chance that we’ll see another one this year
Watch out for…Argy-bargy through Turn Three. The first DRS zone along the pit straight will allow cars to close up and it’s vital for the pursuing cars to remain close through Turn Three because the second DRS zone follows

THE DRIVERS

FERNANDO ALONSO
#FA14 MCL32-05

“It’s very important that we head to Mexico with everybody in our thoughts that has been affected by the recent earthquake, and show them as much support as we possibly can at this really difficult time.
“The welcome we receive in Mexico City is among the best in the world – you can really feel the warmth of the fans all around the circuit, especially in the arena section, and the support is unbelievable. For me, it’s nice to be able to arrive in a country, travel to the hotel and check in using my own language! But seriously, I love Mexico and the Mexican people, and I hope we can put on the show they deserve.
“It will surely be a challenging weekend for us as I’m expecting to start from the back of the grid due to the engine issue we had in Austin. It’s also a track where we often struggle with traffic, which makes overtaking difficult. But, on the positive side, we tested a lot of new components on Friday in the USA which we were very happy with, and we hope to take those forward to use in Mexico.”

STOFFEL VANDOORNE
#SV2 MCL32-04

“We head to Mexico City very aware of the current situation there and we send all of our support and best wishes to the people of Mexico after such a terrible disaster.
“For McLaren Honda, Mexico will likely be a very tricky race for us because of the long straight and the high altitude, two characteristics which will make things more difficult for us all weekend. As I had to change my PU on race day in Austin, we’re hoping that we won’t have to take penalties on my car in Mexico, but at the moment we’re looking into everything and will wait until Friday to confirm if anything is necessary.
“I last went to Mexico City two years ago and loved the whole experience. We stay downtown and the city is really cool. I remember the awesome atmosphere around the whole track and I’m looking forward to going back there. The fans are amazing and the coolest part of the circuit is the stadium because there are so just many people there. I’ve been preparing to race on this circuit for a while with my engineers in the simulator, and I’m excited to get out on track there for the first time on Friday.”

THE MANAGEMENT

ERIC BOULLIER

McLAREN HONDA RACING DIRECTOR

“Firstly, on behalf of both myself and the whole team, I’d like to send our condolences to the hundreds of people that have been affected by the terrible earthquake in Mexico in September. Mexico City is a place we’ve quickly grown to love visiting, and we hope this coming weekend we can show our solidarity and support for the victims and shine a spotlight on the incredible resilience they’ve shown, as well as recognise the generous hospitality we receive from our Mexican friends every year we visit.
“While I can’t promise victory, we will of course fight for everything we can despite difficult circumstances, as we did in Austin. It’s likely that Fernando will have to take penalties due to the PU issue he faced last weekend, so he is already preparing himself for what will undoubtedly be a spirited fight from the back of the grid. We don’t yet know how the weekend will pan out for Stoffel, but will try to give him the best chance we can at what will be a second new track for him in as many weeks.
“The conditions, too, make it tough for all the teams – it’s often hot and humid in Mexico City, and coupled with the altitude it makes cooling and outright engine performance even more of a challenge than normal. We’ve learned a lot about these characteristics from the past two years we’ve raced there and I hope we can put this to good use next weekend. We aren’t expecting to make a significant dent on the points table this weekend, but we never ever give up, and will give it our all to make the best we can out of this challenging double-header as possible.”

YUSUKE HASEGAWA

HONDA R&D CO. LTD HEAD OF F1 PROJECT & EXECUTIVE CHIEF ENGINEER

“After a very disappointing weekend in the United States, we’re now crossing the border to Mexico.
“First of all, we would like to express our condolences to the people who lost their lives in the disaster and offer our heartfelt sympathy to all those affected.
“This will be the third year of the Mexican Grand Prix since its return to the Formula 1 calendar. We always enjoy racing in the cheerful Latin atmosphere in front of the fanatic Mexican fans. I also appreciate the warm support from our Honda de Mexico colleagues.
“The Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez is unique in terms of its location with a very high altitude of 2,300m. Due to the thin air, it’s necessary for us to have a totally different approach to extract the power out of the PU compared to other circuits. In addition, the long straight means we’re expecting to face a tough challenge.
“However, the tricky conditions are the same for all the other teams, and we will use the data collected over the past two years to make the best race strategy possible.
“It is obviously a race under very difficult circumstances for the people of Mexico, and we hope to put on a good show for them all.”