2023 Mexico City Grand Prix – Preview

2023 Mexico City Grand Prix – Preview

Toto Talks Mexico City
Austin was a weekend of mixed feelings.
The positives are that the upgrade looks to have given us a step forward in terms of performance.
Our pace was strong all weekend and it was encouraging to be in the fight for victory.
The negative was of course failing to capitalise on our pace with the result.
Losing a podium finish hurts and is not a position we want to find ourselves in.
The complexities of a sprint weekend and a bumpy circuit caught us out.
But rules are rules.
We will learn from this and improve.
Now we move on to the next race.
Mexico is always an exciting weekend.
The fans are super passionate and energetic.
The venue also presents a unique challenge with the high altitude.
It has a major impact on how we operate the car, and it is always a challenge to find the optimum solution.
It will also be a good test of our upgrade package; seeing how it performs at a circuit with very different characteristics.
That will be useful for our continued learning and development for W15.
Finally, FP1 will see Fred Vesti in the car for one of our two mandatory rookie sessions.
He has acquitted himself well in Formula 2 and I am sure he will do a good job for the team.

Fact File: Mexico City Grand Prix
The Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez is the third-shortest circuit on the 2023 F1 calendar, behind only Zandvoort and Monaco.
It does however have the longest run from pole position to the first braking zone at 811 metres.
Mexico City sits at over 2,200 metres altitude which affects the car in a number of different ways.
Because of that high altitude and therefore low air density, the air is incredibly thin.
The ambient pressure is by far the lowest of the season at 782mb.
The oxygen levels are therefore 78% of what they are at sea level.
This has a big impact on the aerodynamics and the Power Unit.
The Power Unit sees a decent drop in output due to the thin air.
The turbocharger makes up for some of the power loss, but not all of it, and has to work much harder than it does in normal conditions.
Due to the altitude, we run a high downforce package in Mexico City but experience Monza levels of downforce.
Top speeds are therefore some of the highest of the season and typically exceed 350 km/h.
The Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez still largely follows the original outline of the circuit which was first developed in 1959.
The main difference is the former, more fearsome version of the Peraltada corner is now bisected.
The first championship Grand Prix race took place at the circuit in 1963, before disappearing from the calendar after 1970.
The second F1 stint at the circuit came between 1989 and 1992, before the championship returned in 2015 with Nico Rosberg victorious for our team.

Insight: Rookie FP1 Sessions – How we Prepare a Driver
“It’s my first ever Free Practice so obviously my expectations are high, but there is a check list that I need to go through and tick all the boxes and that’s where I’m going to keep my focus.”
Fred Vesti is quite rightly excited to make his maiden appearance in an F1 car on a Grand Prix weekend.
Whilst it will be a proud moment for the Dane, he is aware that he has an important job to do. How do we make sure a rookie driver is ready for that task?

“We can replicate plenty of things in the simulator. For Fred’s outing, we’ve got a session prepared with George’s race engineers so that he can go through all the comms, all the language that they use, get ready for that and then also he will be helping us doing our pre-event work,” says Senior Performance and Simulation Engineer, Zhaoming Li.

Holly Chapman, Trackside Power Unit Engineer, adds: “To make sure a rookie driver is fully prepared for driving the car we’ll go through a pack of slides with them, which covers all the basics that they need to know. As they become more experienced, we can then add to that, but we really tailor it to the rookie at that time.”

The learning also continues on once the driver is on track.

Hugues Bretonnier, Senior Performance Engineer, comments: “As with the race drivers, there will be an opportunity between runs to have a look at the data. We can discuss with the engineers how he can build up his confidence, progress the speed in a couple of corners maybe, using different tools on board and adjust the setup to try and progress with our weekend according to our run plan.”

Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team

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