Mexican GP: Preview - AlphaTauri


Daniel Ricciardo: "It felt great to be racing again for the first time since the end of August, especially at a track and city that I really like. It was good to confirm I was physically ready to be back after the accident.

"I enjoyed the whole experience even if on-track it didn't always go smoothly, especially in the race, when I picked up damage, which badly affected my aero. But generally, I'm positive we could be aiming for points in the remaining races, starting this weekend in Mexico.

"The track itself is another unique one. The grip here is so low because of the altitude, and it's normally a track where you're never going to have a perfect car. It's never going to feel grippy and awesome, so you've really just got to make do with what it is and navigate that with some patience. I do like it as a venue and as a circuit, because, a bit like Austin, it provides unique challenges, and when you get it right around there, you can make up a lot of time.

"The first sector is very fast, but when you get into the next part, even the first few corners and the chicane, you've got to take the kerbs. If you take too much, it can kill your lap time, and if you don't take enough, then you leave time on the table so that section is really tricky. Even though it's low-speed in third gear, it's really quite hard to get right, lap after lap.

"The atmosphere at the circuit is incredible, and I'd say the drivers' parade could be the best one of the year, especially when we enter the stadium section, the noise is unbelievable. We don't have that anywhere else, so Mexico on Sunday afternoon is certainly a treat."

Yuki Tsunoda: "I guess I have to consider Austin one of my favourite tracks now that I've finished in the points there three times in a row! Everyone in the team, at the track and the factory, has been pushing so hard, with the upgrades seeming to work, so that result was a nice reward for them. I couldn't believe it when I was told, over the radio, that I was going for the fastest race lap in the final lap. I'd never done that before, and it's great that we got that point, plus being in the right place to score more after two cars were disqualified.

"With the effect the altitude has on cooling, this race is tough on the car, the brakes, and engine cooling, but I have no concerns about reliability because so far, Honda has done a very good job on the reliability side, especially considering the very hot race in Qatar! In terms of how you drive, you need to adopt a different approach because the car gives you a different feeling, not what you usually feel when you run high downforce, but I know how to deal with that. From a personal fitness point of view, the altitude is not a problem.

"I like Mexico and have good memories of racing there. The atmosphere is completely unique, especially in the Foro Sol section, where you drive under the grandstand that is packed with so many spectators who surround you. The place has its own character, it's great for the show, and we drivers can feel the enthusiasm, so it's great motivation."

Isack Hadjar: "I'm super excited to be driving in FP1, but at the same time, I'm a bit apprehensive, as I've never driven a Formula 1 car. To do so for the first time at an official practice session for a Grand Prix is quite something. The team has not set me any targets, so I don't feel under any particular pressure, and I think I'm as well prepared as I can be. After Daniel was injured and Liam stepped in, I did a lot more work in the simulator to help the race drivers prepare, so I have a good understanding of how all the controls in the cockpit work. I've spent time in Faenza getting to know the team, and the engineer who will work with me in FP1 was also with me at the sim, so we know one another already. The altitude in Mexico means this is an unusual track to drive with less downforce than usual, but I can't wait to get in the car and do my best for the team. Since I started karting as a young child, I have dreamed of being in Formula 1, and I want to thank Scuderia AlphaTauri and Red Bull for giving me this great opportunity."

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Published: 25/10/2023
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