This weekend sees the second of three rounds of the championship held in the Americas. After the United States Grand Prix, it's the turn of Mexico which, like the race in Austin, is back on the calendar after a one year absence.
The race has always been held in Mexico City, at the same circuit, which over the years has undergone changes to its name and layout. The Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez is located within the large Magdalena Mixhuca sports complex, not far from the centre of the megalopolis. The track features a long straight in the first sector, while the second is more technical. Before changes introduced in 2015, the final part featured the Peraltada as its last corner, the name meaning ‘raised up' in Spanish, which had a 10 degree banking. Since the race returned to the calendar after an absence of 23 years, the track has undergone extensive revisions, the most significant being in this final sector. The Peraltada has now been changed into a very slow stadium section, the Foro Sol, which is less demanding in terms of driving, but gives spectators the chance to see the cars close up at low speed. The cars pass between very high grandstands, usually packed with fans making so much noise that even the drivers in the cockpit can hear them. There are 17 corners on the 4.304 kilometre lap and there are three DRS zones. The race runs over 71 laps, equivalent to 305.354 km.
A key feature of the Mexican event is its altitude: the race is run at a record 2,285 metres above sea level, making the air more rarified, so that the density and concentration of oxygen is approximately 75% of that at sea level. This affects various areas of the car, such as the cooling of the tyres, as well as internal components, starting with the power unit. The rarified air also demands more from the turbo compressor to supply oxygen required for combustion in the engine, increasing the stress on this component. In terms of aerodynamics, reduction in drag means that on the 1.310 metre long main straight, the cars can reach speeds of over 360 km/h, even though they run in an aero configuration similar to that used in Monaco. In fact, aerodynamic downforce is around 75% of what it would be at sea level.
Ferrari at th Mexican GP
GP entered 19
Debut 1963 (J. Surtees ret.; L. Bandini ret.)
Wins 2 (10.53%)
Pole positions 3 (15.79%)
Fastest laps 5 (26.31%)
Total podiums 11 (19.30%)
Facts & Figures
4th. The best finishing position in Mexico of a current Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow driver, Charles Leclerc to be precise who did so in 2019, having started from pole. Carlos Sainz has not had much luck at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez and has yet to score a point here. He was running eighth in 2018 before stopping with an electrical problem. Two Mexicans have raced for the Scuderia, the Rodriguez brothers in whose honour the circuit is named. For a long time, Ricardo held the record for the youngest driver to race in Formula 1, making his debut at the 1961 Italian Grand Prix at the age of 19 years and 208 days. Pedro finished fifth on two occasions in the United States GP in 1965 and 1969.
13. The furthest back on the grid from which the Mexican Grand Prix has been won. Alain Prost was the driver in question in 1990, when he drove a memorable race at the wheel of a Ferrari F1-90, rounded off by a second place for his team-mate Nigel Mansell. As for the furthest grid position to deliver a podium, two drivers went from 14th on the grid to third at the flag: Jackie Oliver in 1968 at the wheel of a Lotus and Denis Hulme in 1970 driving a McLaren.
15. The position occupied by Mexico in the list of nations' economic ratings according to the International Monetary Fund, based on the GDP (Gross Domestic Product). The biggest source of earnings is petroleum and the country is the sixth largest car producer in the world after China, the United States, Japan, India and Germany, despite having very few national car constructors. But many European and American companies have factories here.
39. The average number of overtaking moves in the Mexican Grand Prix. The most came in the race won by Alain Prost in 1990, with no fewer than 70 changes of position, while the lowest number came in 2017 when there were just 24.
186. The number of museums in Mexico City, which puts it second on the global scale, behind London. The six most popular are the Museum of Templo Mayor, the Pulque Museum, the Palacio de Bellas Artes, the Zapato Museum and the Frida Kahlo museum.
This week in Ferrari history
3/11. In 2007, the first stone laying ceremony of Ferrari World took place in Abu Dhabi. It was the first theme park dedicated to the Maranello marque and was opened to the public on 4 November 2010. The Ferrari World facility, which houses over 20 attractions, is 45 metres high and has an external circumference of 2,200 metres. Its total surface area is 200,000 m2, with a covered area open to the pubic of 85,000 m2 featuring a huge Prancing Horse emblem.
4/11. In 1972, Clay Regazzoni and Arturo Merzario were the clear winners of the Kyalami 9 Hours, dominating the South African endurance event to the extent that the second placed Team Gunston-Richter Motors driven by Scotsman Gerry Birrell and the German Jochen Mass, finished six laps down.
5/11. In 1905 Louis Rosier was born in Chapdes-Beaufort, a commune in the Puy-de-Dome department of the Auvergnes. He is best remembered as the winner of the 1950 Le Mans 24 Hours, sharing his Talbot with his son Jean-Louis. The father drove for 23 hours and 15 minutes. Rosier also played his part in the history of Ferrari, as along with the Swiss members of Ecurie Espadon, he was one of the first customers to buy racing cars from Enzo Ferrari, with whom he enjoyed an open and sincere relationship. The Frenchman, driving for his eponymous team took part in 15 rounds of the Formula 1 world championship in a Ferrari and won four non-championship races: at Albi in 1952 and '53 at the wheel of a 375 F1 and then at Cadours in 1952, as well as in the Grand Prix des Sables d'Olonne in 1953 in a 500 F2. He won twice in sports cars in 1955 in a 750 Monza in the Forez 4 Hours and the Bougie GP. He lost his life the following year on 29 October at the Montlhery circuit competing in the Coupe du Salon.
6/11. In 1931, Peter John Collins was born in Kidderminster, England. He was a versatile drivers, winning the sports car event, the Giro di Sicilia in 1956 alongside fellow countryman Louis Klementaski in an 857 S, as well as the Buenos Aires 1000 Km and the Sebring 12 Hours in 1958, with Phil Hill in a 250 Testa Rossa. Collins is famous for having handed over his car in the final round of the season to his rival for the title. It happened in the 1956 Italian GP at Monza, when the Scuderia's number one driver Juan Manuel Fangio had to stop with a mechanical problem, handing the lead to his rival, Stirling Moss in a Maserati. A victory for Collins at Monza would have given him the title, but he chose to pit and hand over his car to his team leader, who finished second to take his fourth title. This gesture of true sportsmanship was dismissed by the Englishman, who said he would have many more opportunities to win the title, as he was 20 years younger than the Argentinian champion. But it was not to be: Collins took his only win in a GP counting towards the world championship on 19 July 1958 at Silverstone in a Ferrari 246 F1, but was killed two weeks later during the German GP on the daunting Nurburgring.
7/11. Scuderia Ferrari dominated the Caracas 1000 Km in 1957, with a clean sweep of the top four places. Peter Collins and Phil Hill won in a 335 S, ahead of the sister car of Mike Hawthorn and Luigi Musso, while the podium was completed by the Germans Wolfgang von Trips and Wolfgang Seidel in a 250 Testa Rossa. Fourth was another 250 TR driven by Maurice Trintignant and Olivier Gendebien.
Check out our Thursday gallery from Mexico City, here.