Mexico GP 2021 - Williams F1 preview
Round 18 of the 2021 FIA Formula One World Championship sees the team head to Mexico and the high altitude Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez for the Mexico City Grand Prix. At an elevation of 2,238m above sea level, conditions are tough for the drivers and the challenging 17-turn circuit, which includes the famous Peraltada and an extremely long start/finish straight, provides a stern test.
Perhaps the most iconic part of the track however is the old baseball stadium, which sees the cars blast their way through a boisterous stadium section packed with passionate fans near the end of the lap. It also plays host to the podium and the post-race festivities which, given its absence from the 2020 calendar, will make a welcome return this year.
Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance
The main feature of Mexico City is its altitude. At over 2000m above sea level, Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez is the highest circuit that we race at. This has significant implications for the cooling systems on the car, the aerodynamic performance and the tyre behaviour. The layout of the circuit is a good blend of corners of various speeds and several straights, with three DRS zones. The final corner sequence brings the track through the stadium section before passing the pit entry and returning the cars to the long start/finish straight.
We will spend Friday confirming that the car is healthy in the low air density, and once we are happy with this, we will investigate the tyre performance and optimum aerodynamic set-up. Pirelli are providing the same middle compound range as they supplied last time out in Austin. These compounds should deal with the low grip conditions reasonably well and should be tolerant of the reduced downforce on the cars this weekend. It will likely take a few runs for the drivers to become accustomed to the low downforce level, but once they’ve done this, we’ll be able to begin to tune the set-up. It is likely that even by FP3 we will still be working on the set-up to understand the best compromises in the tricky conditions.
As the first of a demanding triple-header - during which we will tackle another Sprint Qualifying event and a new Formula One circuit - we will need to combine our work this weekend with the preparation needed for the events in Brazil and Qatar. As we approach the final races of the season, we need to maintain our focus and get the very best out of the FW43B at each of the remaining events, but we must not lose sight of the fact that this is a very demanding time of the year for the travelling team, many of whom won’t see home or their families for several weeks. Supported by their colleagues in Grove, each and every one of them works tirelessly for the Team and their efforts are very much appreciated and have been key to the Team’s recent successes.
I am really looking forward to heading to Mexico for the Mexico City Grand Prix. The race presents a lot of interesting challenges such as the high altitude, which affects us as drivers but also the performance of the car, and we have to take into consideration these things when preparing for the weekend. Equally, these challenges offer us an opportunity and I also can’t wait to see all the amazing fans and support we’ve come to associate this race with.
Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez is another track on the calendar that I’ve not yet raced at as a Formula One driver, although I do have some FP1 experience there from 2018 and 2019 which is helpful. It’s a unique circuit as the altitude is the highest of the year which always makes things quite interesting for the drivers. It also makes it a huge challenge to get the car right. The atmosphere in Mexico is always great and I’m looking forward to seeing the event at full capacity with all the fans.
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