Round nineteen of the 21 race 2016 Formula One world championship gets underway at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez circuit in Mexico City this coming weekend and even though the first Mexican Grand Prix was held 53 years ago, this year’s event will be only the 17th time Formula One will visit it’s unique layout, the second race here since 1992.
Here we take a closer look at the track and what we can expect this coming weekend.
Track name: Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez
Total number of race laps: 71
Complete race distance: 305.354 kilometers (189.738 miles)
2015 winner: Nico Rosberg, 71 laps, 1:42:35.038s
2015 pole position: Nico Rosberg, 1m19.480s
2015 fastest lap: Nico Rosberg, 1m20.521s (lap 67)
Distance to Turn One: 800m/0.497 miles (longest of the season)
Longest straight: 1.314km/0.816 miles, on the approach to the Turn One
Pitlane length: 650m/0.404 miles, estimated time loss 25s (longest of the season)
Pit lane speed limit: 80 kph (50 mph)
Full throttle: 47 per cent
DRS zones: Two, on the approach to Turns One and Four
Top speed: 365km/h/227mph, on the approach to Turn One
Key corner: Turn Three. It’s the final right-hander in an ‘S’ bend, so the car is heavily loaded. It’s crucial to get the power down efficiently because the second DRS zone is located on the following straight
Fastest corner: 260km/h (162mph), Turn 17
Slowest corner: 72km/h (45mph), Turn 13
Fuel consumption: 1.49kg per lap, which is low
ERS demands: High. The long straights use the ERS heavily, so the more efficient systems are rewarded
Brake wear: Medium. There are 12 braking zones, three of them heavy, and 27 per cent of the lap is spent braking
Gear changes: 44 per lap/3,124 per race
This 4.304-kilometer (2.674-mile), 17-turn circuit has hosted Formula One since 1963, with last year’s Mexican Grand Prix serving as the venue’s 16th grand prix.
Nico Rosberg holds the race lap record at Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez (1:20.521), set in 2015 with Mercedes.
Rosberg also holds the qualifying lap record at Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez (1:19.480), set in 2015 with Mercedes.|
Mexico and the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez have had three stints on the Formula One calendar. The first was an eight-year stretch between 1963-1970 before Formula One took a 15-year hiatus from the country. The globe-trotting series returned in 1986 and raced there until 1992. Twenty-two years passed until Formula One came back to Mexico, with last year’s Mexican Grand Prix drawing a massive crowd estimated at 240,000. To prepare for Formula One’s most recent return, the track underwent a comprehensive renovation.
Noted track designer Hermann Tilke penned the new layout, which followed the general outline of the original course. The entire track was resurfaced, with new pit, paddock and spectator stands constructed. The most notable changes from the old layout to the current version were an added sequence of corners comprising turns one, two and three, along with a revised set of corners through the Foro Sol baseball stadium, which was built inside the famed and feared Perlatada corner, which serves as the track’s final turn.
Did you know…
…that the Mexican Grand Prix has been run 16 times, and every one of them has come at Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez. However, when Mexico hosted its first grand prix in 1963, the track was called Magdalena Mixhuca. It was renamed in honour of local racing hero and Ferrari rising star Ricardo Rodríguez and his racing driver brother, Pedro, who scored two grand prix victories in a career that spanned 54 starts between 1963 and 1971. Ricardo was killed in a non-championship race at Magdalena Mixhuca in 1962 and Pedro died in a sports car race in 1971 at the Norisring in Germany.
…that the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez is one of four Formula One locations with ties to the Olympics as the venue hosted numerous events during the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City. Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya, home to the Spanish Grand Prix, was the site of the start/finish line for the road team time trial cycling event when Barcelona hosted the 1992 Summer Olympics. Sochi, site of the Russian Grand Prix where teams competed prior to coming to Barcelona, hosted the 2014 Winter Olympics. Finally, the backstraight at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal runs adjacent to the Olympic rowing basin used during the 1976 Summer Olympics.
What about the weather?
During the course of the Mexican Grand Prix, lows will range from 9-10 degrees Celsius (48-51 degrees Fahrenheit) to highs of 20-21 degrees Celsius (68-70 degrees Fahrenheit). Relative humidity ranges from 32 percent (comfortable) to 86 percent (very humid), with a dew point varying from 3 degrees Celsius/37 degrees Fahrenheit (dry) to 12 degrees Celsius/53 degrees Fahrenheit (very comfortable). The dew point is rarely below -4 degrees Celsius/25 degrees Fahrenheit (dry) or above 14 degrees Celsius/57 degrees Fahrenheit (comfortable). Typical wind speeds vary from 0-26 kph/0-16 mph (calm to moderate breeze), rarely exceeding 37 kph/23 mph (fresh breeze).
What do the drivers need to watch out for?
The end-of-straight speeds. The 1.2km (0.746-mile) pit straight is the longest in F1 and last year’s top speed of 366km/h (227mph), set by Sebastian Vettel, exceeded expectations. Given the amount of progress made with the power units in the last 12 months, could we see the fastest straight-line speeds in F1 history?
What about the championship?
After winning last weekend’s USGP at the Circuit of Americas, Lewis Hamilton has reduced the gap in the drivers’ championship to 26 points. However, while it is still mathematically possible for the British champion to claim his fourth world title this year, with only three races remaining he would need his teammate and current championship leader, Nico Rosberg, to suffer some of the reliability problems he has had so many of this season. Even if Hamilton wins every race, and Rosberg comes second, he will end up 5 points shy of retaining his crown. So odds are really favouring Nico Rosberg to finally claim his first world championship title.
A lap around the track with Romain Grosjean.
“Long straight line going into turn one with big braking, 90 degrees right-hand side, followed by a small chicane. It’s very important to get the second part right because you’ve got another long straight line. Then you’ve got another 90-degree left corner, and then a 90-degree right corner. That’s followed by a very weird double right-hander. It’s very difficult to find a line. Then you go to the middle section which is flowing, with mid- to high-speed left and right corners. Next it’s the entry to the stadium – big braking here, very tricky with the wall facing you. Then it’s a very slow hairpin in the stadium, as slow as Monaco. Finally, it’s the double right-hand corner with very important traction going into the old part of the oval to finish the lap.”