Mexican GP: Preview - McLaren

24/10/2017
NEWS STORY

Fernando Alonso: "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: "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."

Eric Boullier: "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: "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 Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez 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."

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 Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. The race then reappeared on the F1 calendar in 2015.

Track length: 4.304km/2.674 miles (second-shortest track of the year – longest: Spa-Francorchamps, shortest: Monaco)

2016 pole position: Lewis Hamilton, 1:18.704

2016 fastest lap: Daniel Ricciardo, 1:21.134 (lap 53)

Lap record: 1:20.521 (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

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.

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Published: 24/10/2017
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