F1 hits the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez next, meaning weekly events and online races will be based there too.
The Mexican Grand Prix was a staple of the Formula 1 calendar in the 1960’s and again in the late 1980’s, but it has never been a permanent home for F1.
In the 60’s it was a playground for Lotus and their British drivers Jim Clark and John Surtees. In the 80’s & 90’s it was McLaren & Williams who dominated, with Nigel Mansell taking two wins along with Alain Prost.
It fell off the calendar after 1992 and didn’t really look like returning, but in 2015 F1 came back to an altered Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City.
The altitude played havoc with the new generation of hybrid engines, while the tight corners, flowing, esses, and long straight was a challenge for drivers and engineers.
In F1 2019 it is one of the simpler tracks to drive, with many overtaking spots and no elevation changes it is a favourite of online lobbies, so having a good setup for this track is crucial.
READ MORE: F1 2019 setup guides
The Hermanos Rodriguez circuit is one of the few where more front wing angle than rear is needed. Here we have gone with a 5-4 setting.
This provides the stopping power and bite on turn-in for the slow corners without bogging the car down on the straights too much. We don’t need too much rear stability despite the esses, but the car will go a little light late on in stints as the mechanical grip lessens so be ready to lift through the esses more than you normally would.
Tyre wear isn’t a massive issue around this track, with the rears going off well before you start worrying about the fronts.
This would normally result in us trying to reduce the pressure placed on them with the transmission setting, but thanks to the massive back straight we need to have maximum traction available in qualifying and the race to maximise lap time and provide us with the ability to attack and defend down the straight.
We are using a 65% on-throttle transmission and a 100% off-throttle. This gives us maximum drive out of the final corner when we need it, but means we will need to be a little gentle with the throttle in other areas of the track.
READ MORE: How to reduce tyre wear
Just because tyre wear isn’t massive doesn’t mean we can extract maximum performance out of them. We still want strategic flexibility, so we have to compromise a little with the suspension geometry.
To try and extend the life of the soft tyre into the 1-stop window we have gone with a -2.70 & -1.20 camber setting and a 0.07 & 0.26 toe setting.
This keeps the car flying through the corners but protects the fronts from overheating too much and gives us some more responsiveness on turn in than normal.
Suspension settings are the most crucial for Mexico. You take a lot of kerb thanks to the tight chicanes and narrow stadium section, so having super soft suspension is vital. We have gone with a 1-1 setting, this also helps to preserve tyre life a little.
Anti-roll bars are set to 4-6. This keeps the rear more predictable despite the lower aero setting while preserving the front tyres through the esses. It means the car is not super responsive when changing direction but there are no quick left-right flicks you have to make around this lap.
Ride height is set to 3-4. This gives a rake, which adds to turn-in bite, while keeping the car low and slippery down the straight, increasing the impact of slipstream.
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There are a couple of big stops around this lap, so having stopping power on tap is crucial. While turn 1 is the big overtaking point, there are two more chances around the lap if you are daring, so pushing the brake pressure up to 90% is a good idea. If you are not using the ABS assist this could result in a few too many lockups so be prepared to drop it into the 80’s.
Our brake bias is set to 54%, as this allows the front-end to be more responsive under braking. If you need a bit more stopping power you can push this forward during the race.
If you are particularly kind to your tyres with your driving style you can up the pressures and be happy, if you are not then lower pressures will help spread heat across the tyre and keep temperatures down.
We have gone with a 22.6 psi front tyre pressure, which lowers their responsiveness but again stops them melting during the esses and keeps them alive for the rest of the lap before they can cool down the straight.
The rears are set to 20.7 psi to add some traction and again spread the heat across the whole tyre.
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So that’s our setup for the Mexican Grand Prix. It provides the straight line speed to battle into turn 1 along with the cornering speed and stability to carry pace through the rest of the lap and really pressure others. You also have the flexibility to stretch a 1-stop strategy or take advantage of a safety car.
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