Mexico first appeared on the Formula One calendar in 1963, thanks in part to the rising prominence of the Rodriguez brothers.
However the younger of the two, Ricardo, died in a non-championship race on Mexico City’s track in 1962. When brother Pedro also perished in Germany nine years later the Magdalena Mixhuaca circuit was renamed the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez after the pair of them.
By then the race had been dropped from the calendar following dreadful crowd control problems at the circuit in 1970. It returned in 1986, despite a recent earthquake having killed more than 10,000 people, on a slightly revised course.
The daunting Peraltada – the banked, 180-degree corner before the pits straight – remained, but in 1992 the banking was reduced to ease the corner. That was the last F1 race held at the track for 23 years.
F1 returned in 2015 to a heavily revamped circuit which on which every corner had been modified including the Peraltada, which was replaced with a slow series of bends running through the Foro Sol stadium.
It looks like the layout has more low speed corners now, but it still has a very long straight so there’ll be an interesting competition to see who can be the fastest there!
The circuit layout is an interesting one, with long straights but almost exclusively low-apex-speed corners. Top speeds will be amongst the highest of the season – despite more downforce being required than at Monza, for example.
This is aided by the altitude of Mexico City which, at over 2,000 metres, reduces drag effect. The rarefied air density will all make cooling a challenge, and also means the turbocharger compressor must work harder in order to deliver equivalent power output to sea level.
Paddy Lowe, Mercedes executive director for technical
There’s one very notable factor about the location of the Mexican Grand Prix and that’s the altitude. Mexico City is located at over 2200 metres and surrounded by mountains, some over 5000 metres.
The altitude of the track means less dense air. Previously, with naturally aspirated engines, the air density would make quite a difference to engine power, but turbo-charged engines are less affected by this due to their forced induction. The current generation Formula One cars also have electrical power deployment, with the energy recovery and subsequent deployment not susceptible to air density variation.
The altitude isn’t only relevant to engine performance however, there is also cooling and aerodynamics to consider. The less dense air provides less downforce and drag than we would produce at sea level. Because of this we could see some pretty fruity speeds along the start-finish straight.
Less dense air also means you can’t cool everything you want to be cooled as well as would be the case at lower ground levels.
Nick Chester, Lotus technical director
|Lap length||4.304km (2.674 miles)|
|Race distance||305.354km (189.738 miles)|
|Pole position||Left-hand side of the track|
|Maximum speed||345kph (214.373 mph)|
|DRS zone/s (race)||Pit straight and longest straight|
|Distance from grid to turn one||900m|
|Longest flat-out section||1200m|
|Gear changes per lap||52|
|Fuel use per lap||1.35kg|
|2015 prime tyre:||Medium|
|2015 option tyre:||Soft|
*Fastest lap set during a Grand Prix
Data sources: FIA, Williams, Mercedes