After a frantic and long haul year, this weekend’s Mexican GP will kick off the final triple-header for the 2021 Formula 1 season.
The upcoming Mexican GP is the first of three races set to take place over consecutive weekends, in what will be Formula 1’s third triple-header for 2021.
The drivers and teams will be clocking up some frequent flyer miles as they head to Brazil next, followed by the first ever F1 race to be held in Qatar.
Coming off the United States GP a fortnight ago, McLaren have been working hard in the simulator to address any shortcomings they may experience in Mexico. With Ferrari narrowing the gap to just 3.5 points in the constructors’ standings, the Woking-based team need to ensure they are well versed in the difficulties that come with racing at the Mexican GP.
The Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez sits at 2,285 metres above sea level, the highest of any circuits on the F1 calendar. The resulting altitude means there is approximately 25% less air at that height, creating a decrease in downforce, along with potential overheating issues.
Most teams will be running a high downforce setup, similar to the likes of Monaco. This hasn’t been one of the McLaren MCL35M’s strong suits, with the car enjoying a lower down force package as seen at Monza. The car also continues to struggle around tight low speed corners, and long fast bends. Except for the long main straight, much of the track around Mexico City does consist of plenty of twists and turns.
Knowing this, McLaren will be working on both the short and long run setups of the car, in order to create a combination that will be most suited to both qualifying and the race itself.
“The Mexican GP kicks off an intense period of racing for the team, with three back-to-back races and plenty of long flights,” McLaren Team Principal Andreas Seidl said. “This scenario brings plenty of challenges, but also plenty of opportunities, and we’ll be working hard to extract maximum performance at each race.
“Mexico offers a unique challenge in terms of set-up that can often shake-up the competitive order. The high altitude and thinner air mean we run higher levels of downforce than we usually might on a circuit like Mexico, and that can be tricky to get right. We’ve been working in the simulator to ensure we have as much data as possible heading into the weekend.
“With only five races left of the season, we know that every race counts and that there’s no time to let down our guard. We know it will be a challenge to retain our position in the Constructors’ Championship, but it’s a challenge we’re ready for. We’ll maintain our focus on the variables we can impact and keep up the pressure on those around us.”
— McLaren (@McLarenF1) November 3, 2021