PIRELLI MEXICAN GRAND PRIX PREVIEW
PIRELLI MEXICAN GRAND PRIX PREVIEW Round 19 of 21 Mexico City, Mexico, 28-30 October 2016
The tyre nomination for the Mexican Grand Prix is exactly the same as that for the United States Grand Prix last weekend: P Zero White medium, P Zero Yellow soft and P Zero Red supersoft. However, the two circuits are very different, with Mexico only returning to the calendar last year following an illustrious history in its previous incarnations from the 1960s until 1992. The current layout maintains elements of the former, very fast circuit, combined with more recent technical and slower sections: making it an intriguing mix of old and new that is slightly reminiscent of Monza. THE CIRCUIT FROM A TYRE POINT OF VIEW:
- Along with Monza and Baku, Mexico is one of the fastest circuits on the 2016 calendar.
- However, the cars run more downforce than at Monza, partly to compensate for the altitude.
- The asphalt is still new, as the circuit was resurfaced for last year’s inaugural race (smoothing out the bumps that used to be typical of Mexico). The surface may have evolved this year.
- Mexico’s most famous corner – Peraltada – is the one that takes most energy from the tyres.
- Weather is always a question mark, with both warm conditions and heavy rain possible.
- Last year, the track was slippery: however the circuit has been quite extensively used by a number of different championships during the season, which should lay more rubber down.
THE THREE NOMINATED COMPOUNDS:
- White medium: a mandatory set, which has not been chosen extensively by most drivers.
- Yellow soft: another mandatory set, likely to be used a lot and play a key role in race strategy.
- Red supersoft: will be used in Mexico for the first time this year, mandatory for the Q3 session.
HOW IT WAS A YEAR AGO:
- The race was affected by a late safety car that effectively handed drivers a ‘free’ final pit stop. Nico Rosberg won the 71-lap race, starting on soft and stopping for medium on laps 26 and 46.
- Best alternative strategy: local hero Sergio Perez stopped only once, starting the race on the soft before switching to the medium on lap 18 to end up in a points-scoring eighth place.
PAUL HEMBERY, PIRELLI MOTORSPORT DIRECTOR: “While the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez is to all intents and purposes a new circuit, there’s a fantastic sense of history behind it, as the name suggests, supported by an incredible number of fans. The stadium section alone is one of the most electrifying experiences of the year. We raced here last year but there’s a strong possibility that the track has evolved since then. We’re also bringing the supersoft for the first time, so it will be important to assess all these new factors during free practice, which could present some interesting alternatives to the two-stop strategy that proved to be by far the most popular option in 2015.” WHAT’S NEW?
- With Mexico being new to the calendar last year, there are no major changes this season.
- 2017 wet tyre testing continues next week with Red Bull in Abu Dhabi from November 2-3.
- Pirelli has been announced as the exclusive tyre supplier to the new Blancpain GT Series Asia.
OTHER THINGS THAT HAVE CAUGHT OUR EYE RECENTLY:
- Mexico is the highest-altitude circuit of the year, which means that turbo units have to spin faster to produce the same power. Deployment of electrical power is not affected though.
- Top speeds in Mexico peaked at 366kph last year: this year they should be even quicker.
TYRES NOMINATED THIS YEAR: