‘Crazy’, ‘a go-kart track’, ‘unique’: The drivers’ views on Mexico

2015 Mexican Grand Prix

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F1 drivers had their first experience of the revised Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez today. Here’s what five grand prix winners made of the new-look circuit.

It was really challenging out there today – for everyone I think – but also a lot of fun. The track feels more like a go-kart track in the slow areas!

It’s crazy how slippery it is. Because we’re so high up in terms of altitude, there’s even less grip than in Monza, so the car was just sliding around. Of course, this is also because the track is new, so there is no rubber on it yet. But it’s getting better and better the more we drive.

It’s great to see how many people came out today. It has been really full out in the stands – especially for a Friday – which is really good to see.
Lewis Hamilton

I feel the track has got a lot of potential, but it’s so slippery out there. Even in the afternoon when it was quite dry, the high-speed stuff was still very slippery. But it’s a brand new track and once the grip is in, it’ll be a lot of fun. The track is unique and I think they have done a really good job with it.
Daniel Ricciardo

Vettel “hoped it would be quicker”
It has very low grip, I think everybody struggled to keep the car on the track. Surprisingly the speed was low overall, I was hoping that the fast corners were a bit quicker.

Hopefully with more rubber on the track it should get quite a bit better. It was amazing to see how many spectators there were already on Friday, and it’s also kind of unique to enter a sort of stadium when you look left and right and see this many people are there.

And then the big grandstands, you drive through them! It’s a bit like Singapore, just bigger, and there is a great feeling.
Sebastian Vettel

The track reminds me very much of my youth. It feels like a kart circuit with a lot of very tight corners and the two stadiums are really spectacular with all the fans.

We brought the same rear wing here as we would use in Monaco, with maximum downforce. But, because of the altitude here in Mexico City, we are also very quick on the straights which feels very strange.
Nico Rosberg

The cars were sliding around and sometimes you felt more like being in rallying than in Formula One.

We knew since the beginning that because of the altitude and the thin air, the speeds would have been high, I think everybody was running full downforce but I would prefer to have the usual amount of downforce.

Obviously, as we do more and more laps, track conditions will improve and the surface will grip out, but I’m sure it will still be more tricky than other races.
Kimi Raikkonen

2015 Mexican Grand Prix

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    Keith Collantine
    Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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    12 comments on “‘Crazy’, ‘a go-kart track’, ‘unique’: The drivers’ views on Mexico”

    1. I think the teams will have to have a one-off outright setup/special spec. aero kit (like a setup for Monaco or Monza) for future races at this track. The conditions of the Hermanos Rodriguez circuit are far different to anywhere else- mainly because of the air of Mexico City- which has the thinnest air of all the places where F1 goes- the teams will have to run more downforce than would be usually required if the circuit was at or nearer to sea level- which will make setting up the car a real head-scratcher.

    2. Here’s a comment on the ‘new’ circuit…. Its not a patch on the original.

      It may be ‘challenging’ because of the low grip & all that but its lost its soul.

      The esses that were such an amazing sequence of corners before have become a series of fairly generic lines in the middle of a car park. The section from turn 1 to the start of the esses have gone from some fairly open, fun corners to a series of generic angled corners like corners on any number of other tilke circuits.

      I was never expecting peraltada to return & was always expecting them to go through the stadium & for as cool as it is to go through those packed stands… Its slow, boring & again similar to section Tilke has used before (Turns 1-3 at Bahrain). They could have come up with something far more interesting.

      Its a shadow of its former self & as i say above the place has lost its soul!

      1. @ PeterG

        Actually Turn 12 right before the stadium section looks cool – a long straight with a tight turn and not really a run off, but more of dead end like you’d find in Monaco, so a driver needs to decide early to bail or not if he’s not sure he’ll make the corner. Depending on grip, it looks like a great place for some overtaking.

      2. @PeterG
        Justified since they’re still children 23 years ago.

    3. Am I the only one who would love to see a car run Monza spec levels on this track? Obviously it would be hopeless through the corners but I would love to see the speed trap figures at the end of the straight :)

      1. The top speed is just a number, inycars can do whole laps averaging a higher speed then any f1 car has ever achieved. I don’t get the fascination of seeing an f1 car hit a high speed for about 1 second

    4. Disappointed so far by the esses: only 5 remaining corners (7 in the good old days) and a bit too slow, like Vettel said. I wish they hadn’t to break for the 4th corner of these esses: they were nice flowing corners in the past, with every corner a bit faster than the precedent and it was very nice.
      But wait and see: the track is still very slippery, it will improve over the days (and years).

      The stadium section -as expected- is a joke. A not funny one. The final corner before going back on Peraltada is way too slow. So the stadium is:
      – hairpin
      – 10 m then slow corner
      – 40m then slow corner.
      So nice to see F1 cars at the thrilling speed of 60kmh… -_-

      1. *[…] they hadn’t to brake […], sorry for the mistake :-)
        By the way, it would be nice to be able to edit our posts.

      2. I agree about the stadium. Nobody want te get out thestadium at first in a fight. Be course you ganno be a sittingduck on the straights. So the people are watching slow riding cars and no overtakes. Very very boring. Specially if you compare with the old 180c highspeed cornes. Bad for the action.

        1. I wonder if they could a have moved the straight into the stadium and had some kind of montreal style Hairpin and the leaf the track back out to the beginning of the Peralta. That easy you could keep the circuits most famous corner but instead of entering it at high speeds it will be used to accelerate for the main straight. And the stadium section would be a great place to watch overtaking.

    5. Does anyone knows when a new tarmac delivers grip? When does it stop sweating oil? And is there a chance it will deliver grip on sunday. Ore will it be next year?

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