Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Mexico City, planned changes

Videos reveal planned changes to Mexico’s F1 track

2015 F1 seasonPosted on Author Keith Collantine

Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Mexico City, planned changesAlmost every corner on the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez will be altered to accommodate Formula One when it returns to the venue for the 2015 Mexican Grand Prix.

A promotional video issued by the federal district reveals how the circuit, which was first used for F1 over 50 years ago, will be revised to bring it into line with modern safety standards.

The sweeping three-turn chicane which opens the lap of the clockwise circuit will be tightened. The next sequence of corners – turns four, five and six – will also be tightened and slowed, giving more space for run-off.

The challenging, high-speed Esses in the middle of the lap will be altered in parts and also benefit from increased run-off space. But they should remain one of the quickest sections of the circuit.

However the once-fearsome Peraltada corner will not be retained in the configuration it was when F1 last raced at the circuit in 1992. The circuit will turn right into a baseball stadium in the centre of the corner, and rejoin the old track via a hairpin and two right-handers.

The high-speed nature of the 180-degree bend, and the inability to make safety improvements to it due to a public road which runs behind it, forced other single-seater series which have visited the track since F1 left to make changes. The now-defunct Champ Car and A1 Grand Prix championship last raced at the venue in 2007 and 2008 respectively, each time using a slow chicane before the corner:

More on the planned changes for 2015

Thanks to Luigui_Torres for the tip!

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102 comments on “Videos reveal planned changes to Mexico’s F1 track”

          1. @olliekart @sato113 Perhaps but remember it’s not just about run-off at the corner, it’s about the pit lane entrance too.

            It used to be at the entrance to the corner but can’t be any more because of the baseball stadium, and that structure reduces other options.

            Having it on the inside of the corner at the exit would probably also be undesirable – as the similar current arrangement at Interlagos is.

          2. @olliekart @keithcollantine @sato113 While naturally being on the side of keeping the corner (with SAFER barriers), I can totally understand why they will put it through the stadium.

            1) Extra seating, and there’s nowhere near enough without it
            2) Safety argument, although I think the cars would be fine now
            3) Laptime length, as they can’t get the old hairpin back after T5

            I hope they don’t butcher the esses and other areas too much, but at least I can drive the ’67 layout in GPL..

          3. …not forgetting 4) Increased chances of overtaking on the main straight, if it helps. @jarnooo I think Barcelona could keep the old corners and upgrade the barriers to SAFER barriers, but they probably hope the chicane helps overtaking as well (which is still hard even with DRS too).

          4. @keithcollantine Just spitballing, but what if the pit-lane went through the stadium and rejoined the old pit-line on the exit of the final corner into the pits? I agree with the posts that it will make T1 and mega overtaking opportunity. ‘Straight – Slow Complex – Straight – 3 turn chicane – Straight – 90 degree corner’ could work a treat similar to Bahrain

          5. if they are investing that money, they could demolish the stadium and rebuilt the “peraltada” like 30 meters earlier so that there could be space for run off, sacrificing only 30 meters in the main straight and in the back straight.

    1. I understand how you feel that way, but the tight righthander before joining the second half of the Peradelta in combination with the greater radius of the Peradelta itself could contribute to more overtaking possibilities because of traction issues. We saw in Germany last week that this works quite well with the current turbo engines.

    2. I’m very happy that I was able to see motor racing when it truly was a risk/reward activity.

      It was a completely different animal to watch when you appreciated the daredevil aspect of what those drivers did. Hard to get the same feeling when there is endless tarmac runoff or Mickey Mouse corners everywhere these days.

    1. I’m assuming for two reasons.

      1. If there was a right then a left, you might still have the lack of runoff problem.
      2. They can make an area section ‘for the fans’. To be fair this can work well, see the new corners at Silverstone (which I’m not a total fan of, but they’re good for spectators).

      Not saying I agree with it, I can’t see what’s wrong with the tight chicane before the Peraltada.

  1. Using this as a reference and using the screenshot from the video: what they did to turns 1, 2 and 3 is pretty OK. The next few corners they have made tighter, which is something that I usually don’t enjoy. The small straight ahead of the esses is pretty clever, I think that would make the track better.

    But the Peraltada… seriously, they are going to destroy the best corner on the track and make it into a car park section? I quite liked the old oval-like turn because of the high-speed straight that follows: a driver had to take risk. This new final section is just a safety overkill in my opinion.

    I’ve said it a million times already, but F1 needs an element of danger, and axing these elements takes away a massive amount of value from the sport.

    1. @andae23 Formula 1 is still very dangerous. Look at what happened on the final lap in Montreal, or to Kimi at Silverstone or at the first corner last weekend. You can’t possibly tell me that Formula 1 is ‘too safe’.

      There’s nothing in the article or in anything the Mexican GP organisers have said to suggest that anybody wants to have neutered the Peraltada. I’m sure if they could do something to keep it in its original form, they would’ve done.

      The problem is that safety standards have moved on in leaps and bounds since the last time F1 raced here (which, crucially, was before 1994). This isn’t a matter of ‘safety overkill’, this is a matter of holding every turn on every circuit to the same standards when it comes to having adequate run-off in case of an accident or a failure. It’s that, not the corner itself, which is the problem and because they are physically unable to do anything about it do to the fact there are public roads and houses standing in the way, what else can they do about it?

      1. @magnificent-geoffrey I know that the circuit needs to meet a certain standard set by the FIA and that the Peraltada simply can’t comply with that. The circuit owners probably wouldn’t want to see it go, but they simply don’t have an option.

        Now, the safety standards. In my opinion, danger is part of Formula 1, but there is a balance between danger on one side and safety on the other. Of course I don’t want to see a numberof fatalities every year like in the 1970s, so in that sense safety standards in F1 have come a long way. But in my opinion, the balance is weighed to heavily on the safety side at the moment. The FIA circuit standards could be modified in such a way that a circuit could decide to have less run-off area and stuff like that.

        Just to make it clear, I don’t want to see fatalities, but I don’t want to see vast amounts of tarmac run-off areas and car-wide kerb stones either. It’s a balance, and imo the focus on safety is too much at the moment.

    1. @pezlo2013 Except that isn’t it at all.

      The Peraltada in its original form is not safe enough by the FIA’s modern standards and they can’t do anything to make it any safer because there are public roads and houses in the way.

      I’m sure they would love to include the Peraltada in all its original glory, but they physically can’t do it.

        1. Nascar has their drivers surrounded by 2 tons of steel, in closed cars, so that is a whole different story.
          Indycar has had a fatal incident just two and a half years ago, and even though safety was improved by the introduction of the new chassis and most obviously the rear-wheel-enclosure it came with, I´m still rather concerned with Indycar´s safety-standard, the most dangerous situations being at the high-speed-ovals, head-on-impacts into the wall, and cars coming from the wall being hit by other cars on full speed.

        2. Nascar, you say? Well…

          Russell Phillips, 1995
          John Nemechek, 1997
          Adam Petty, 2000
          Kenny Irwin, 2000
          Tony Roper, 2000
          Dale Earnhardt, 2001
          John Baker, 2002
          Marcelo Núñez, 2004
          Tom Baldwin, 2004
          John Blewett, 2007
          Carlos Pardo, 2009

          We haven’t had a death in F1 since 1994. If it’s not possible to make Peraltada safe, I can live without it.

          1. You might add that, while Nascar is a term used for nearly all touring-car-series and a large variety of what is called stock-cars on the american continent, most on your list were actually not racing in the sprint cup (former Winston Cup) series or it´s junior series` (Nationwide or Truck), but either mexican-series or so called “modified”-series, with entirely different cars, and if you would make a list with the same concept to compare to you would actually have to include all FIA-open-wheel-series.
            So the last name on your list that was actually driving within the series most people associate with the name “Nascar” was Dale Earnhardt.

        3. When Champcar raced on this circuit, They also refused to use the full peraltada despite those cars been built to run on ovals.

          As someone mentioned not long ago, Its not so much the lack of runoff that the problem its more than there’s no runoff on a tight, fast corner thats also blind due to the stadium on the inside.

          Should someone hit the wall & end up sliding back onto the circuit, Cars behind will have nowhere to go & would likely not even see the car until just before they hit it.

  2. Personally, I don’t think turns 1, 2 and 3 needed to be changed. However, the top of the circuit now looks great. As for the last corner, it is disappointing to see what they’ve done to it. Not sure why it couldn’t be a right-left-right and back on to the straight. But from that CART video it looks like they removed what precious run-off was there and put a wall. Surely the corner could’ve had a SAFER barrier and remained as it was.

  3. Meh, good enough. At least the esses along with most of the circuit’s character has been retained! I saw a version that would have tilke’d it much further with a long venture to the infield from turn 1 along with making all the corners boring hairpins. That would have turned it in to a 5.5 km tilkedrome. Now we have a short and moderately fast circuit with long traditions in F1 to look forward to!

  4. F1 is supposed to be the best drivers in the best & safest cars. No corner should be too dangerous for F1.

    This is really disappointing. The end section just looks like something from the old Indy infield track now.

  5. Indycar and NASCAR: Barriers right next to the track on multiple banked corners, similar speeds (especially now with the V6’s), get on with some actual racing (and not just a DRS procession).

    F1: Oh no, we can’t have a barrier next to the track. It’s unsafe (except in Monaco, of course). And a corner that doesn’t have a standard camber? Oh, no no no. We need to have a bowling green surface all the way around to ensure we don’t have another Indy 2005, where teams complained because the “fastest sport on earth” couldn’t handle banking because it made them “too fast for the tyres”.

    1. @benh read above; nascarl is surrounded by thousands of pounds of steel, and their corners are banked. Peraltada is not banked and therfore cannot facilitate the speeds seen in nascarl. Just two of many points why the Peraltada is considered ‘too dangerous’

    1. Exactly.

      The only way the track will ever include the original Peraltada again, is if they remove the public road behind it, or if they destroy the stadium, and move the entire Peraltada corner back by some 50 meters.

      Sadly, neither is probably ever going to happen.

      Nevertheless, I’m happy for Mexico to return!

  6. The Peraltada was never going to make it through today´s safety-measures, so, as unfortunate as that is, altering it was inevitable. However, I hoped they would at least try to make something as similar as possible, but that design with the hairpin does not look good.

  7. And that’s why I don’t like the classic circuits in the middle of the cities being re-used as if they’re still there, when there’s nothing left of them and their character. You need to recognize that It’s dead Jim! This pathetic proposal should be called the Tilkedromo Hermanos Rodriguez(who are by the way both turning in their graves seeing this abomination)

    Can’t use it properly? Demolish it, sell the property, which being in the middle of the city should be worth a lot, and use the money to build something decent elsewhere

    What a turnoff… :(

  8. Seems OK, let’s hope we’ll see some good races. Is it me or the area in front of the garages (til the pitwall stands) is the largest from all circuits in the calendar ?! Also, for a modernised and a 2015 circuit… not a single covered stand ? That’s not good news to spectators. Covered stands certainly would have helped a lot in the “fight” with the sun and rain.

  9. I disagree with people saying changing the layout was inevitable. The cars are so safe now that drivers can survive every possible crash except a direct hit on the head so I can’t see why corners have to be altered in the name of safety.

    1. @paeschli that is a very dangerous attitude. I recall watching a segment of commentary on YouTube from qualifying at Imola 1994 where they were talking about how safe the cars were in that Barichello was largely unhurt…then Razenberger died literally 30 seconds later, or less.

      1. Ratzenberger died from a basiliar skull fracture, and I don’t think he had any injuries to his torso or limbs. Almost every fatal accident in motorsports from the 1990’s to now was caused due to head and neck related injuries. They could have kept the Peraltada but they would have had to remove the roads behind and make an underground tunnel for them.

        1. We have come closer than you think to serious injuries for drivers since 1994.
          For example, Timo Glock was quite lucky to get away with just minor leg injuries in 2009 when metal shards punched through the cockpit of his car when he crashed during qualifying in the Japanese GP, completely destroying the safety cell of the car.

          As it was, he only suffered from cuts to his legs (which is why it took so long to get him out of the car) – had the metal shards punched through the cockpit slightly lower down though, he would have suffered from much more severe leg injuries.

  10. What a disappointment, nearly every corner tightened means it looks like any other track on the calendar. I suppose they want to go through the stadium to make an ‘arena’ section, as the chicane before the peraltada would have surely made it safe enough.

  11. I’m so disappointed. That corner was awesome. Cutting the Peraltada is tantamount to removing a man’s wedding veg. Couldn’t they have just tightened the entry/ brought the apex closer to the entry (AKA Parabolica Monza) to reduce entry speed? Or neutered it/ retained in a manner similar to Curva Grande Monza by installing a rettifilo type chicane before hand?

    The reason it goes through the baseball ground in the manner proposed is safety related (they couldn’t flick ‘fast’ left back towards the Peraltada bank because the northern part of the bb stadium wouldn’t give enough run off (for modern regs). The cynic in me says its also been engineered to “improve the show” by offering a opportunity for photographing bunched slow moving f1 cars.

    Yesterday’s announcement had me googling flights and planning a trip. I doubt i’ll bother now, what a shame.

      1. I realise the first post was a touch Melodramatic. But come on, where’s the challenge. That is the signature corner of that track. Ive been to 6 grand prix in recent years (Silverstone, Monza, Spa & Nurburgring…off the Hungary this weekend), and (personally) the excitement of the sport for me is watching the cars on the limit, mastering the challenges of the given track. With tires/ fuel saving/ strategy etc, you only really see this 100% commitment on a Saturday. Its great a historic track is back, in a country that loves f1, and that will create a great atmosphere, its just a shame we had to neuter it to make it happen, thats all.

          1. No, I didn’t. What are you trying to insinuate? F1 is all the better for losing its “blood sport image”, but I do think modern f1 track design generally lacks challenge, or differentiation. Korea, China, India and Valencia and Abu Dhabi all suffer from a generic approach to circuit design.

            Turkey, Cota, Nurburgring, Spa, Barcelona, Silverstone, Austria, and Monza to name a few represent a challenge because of the elevation change, the bumps, the high speed corners. The Peraltada corner in its original state was epic viewing, but unsafe, i’m just thoroughly unhappy with the proposed redesign.

  12. Why am I not surprised!?…

    The plans bears an uncanny resemblance to the one which circulated around when these rumours first emerged awhile ago.

    I’m actually fine with a lot of the transformations.

    I like that most of the corners (T1-T3, Esses) are to be modified in a way to retain speed while increasing run-offs by opening up the corner angles with moving around with the straight preceding the corner entries (T1, beginning of the Esses). In fact, I don’t think the Esses are going to be much slower than they are now and certainly more technical.

    T4-T5 may will be tightened, but they were never that outstanding (most of those features, like the old decreasing radius T1 and the Hairpin were eliminated in an earlier ‘upgrade’ anyway) and now they should provide more overtaking.

    I was so sure F1 won’t miss the glamour of creating a POI which is going through a baseball field! :) In fact, what is to happen with the Peraltada is my only objection to the plans (surprisingly). I understand @keithcollantine‘s tweet and replies here, but I’m with those who would use SAFER barriers on the outside.

    …May I ask who designed this rebuild plan? Judging by the apparently smart use of land (bar Peraltada), my guess is that it was not Hermann Tilke.

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