The Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez has been on and off the F1 calendar since the 1960’s and is the highest circuit in Formula 1 on the current calendar. Mexico City’s circuit was given a revamp and redesign ahead of its return to F1 in 2015 and will remain on the roster until at least 2022. The Peraltada may be gone, but this track is a huge challenge to the drivers in the dry, let alone the wet.
Despite the high downforce levels generated by modern F1 cars, grip is at a huge premium here, thanks to the thinner air at the altitude at 2,000m (6,600ft) above sea level. Teams generally run wing angles similar to Monaco but get the downforce levels that are more akin Monza, than a street circuit.
Like always, setup is key around here. You can be as quick as the esports competitors, but if your car isn‘t tuned correctly, you won’t be fast. Rain is very rare in this part of Mexico in Autumn, there’s hasn’t been a rain affected event here in the modern era.
However, that could change this weekend, as rain is predicted to fall in Mexico’s capital over the entire weekend. Here’s our guide to the best setup in wet conditions in Mexico in F1 2019!
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In F1 2019, you don’t have to worry about the altitude wrecking your downforce, but you do have to have fairly high wings in the wet. The start/ finish straight is humongous, in the dry, you’ll be topping out the rev limiter halfway down its length, but you have to crank up the wing angles to make it through the final sector and the S curves.
I found that 7 on the front and 6 on the rear works good enough in the corners and doesn’t cost you too much in a straight line, it also means that you’ll preserve your front tyres better too.
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In wet conditions, you need grip, and a lot of it. Therefore, a locked differential is what you need, even if it makes the rear tyres more lively. There are some big traction zones here, especially the one at the end of the circuit, which you have to nail to or you’ll be a sitting duck going into Turn 1.
Thanks to the wing angles, the car is planted and you can feel confident in being aggressive with the throttle with 80% on-throttle transmission and 100% off-throttle transmission.
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You have to be conservative with the suspension geometry in Mexico, thanks to the relatively high tyre wear in the dry at Hermanos Rodriguez. It’s not quite as high in the wet, but if you go with -2.8 & -1.3 degrees toe and 0.08 & 0.29 degrees camber, you should be able to do a no-stop strategy like Gerhard Berger did to win the race in 1986.
The kerbs around Mexico aren’t the harshest, but because of the high speed S curves, you have to opt for soft suspension springs, around 2 on the front and 3 on the rear is ideal. There aren’t a lot of high-speed direction changes around this track, so the anti-roll bar doesn’t need to be firm, 4 on the front and rear seem to work best.
The usual ride height of 3 on the front and 4 on the rear works nicely in Mexico in the rain. Normally, you raise the ride height in the wet, but the tyres partly do that for you and you need to be low off the ground, as otherwise the straight line speed suffers.
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There aren’t many big stops around this circuit, the braking zones are relatively short, in general. 83% brake pressure is the highest you can get away with here in the wet, as lock-ups become more common in the relatively low-grip surface. The brake bias needs to be more towards the front in the wet, the fronts need to take the brunt of the pressure, 56% is ideal, as long as you don’t lock the fronts up too much.
Tyre wear is a race-defining issue in Mexico, but thanks to the wet conditions, you can opt for higher tyre pressures than in the dry. 23.8psi on the fronts and 21.9psi on the rears is good, it does wear out your rubber a little faster, but it provides you with fantastic levels of grip, especially when going into the triple chicane after the long start/ finish straight. If you’re struggling to keep wear levels down, though, lower these settings.