Mexican Grand Prix Preview

A week after Lewis Hamilton clinched the 2015 Formula One Drivers Title, the season moves on to Mexico as F1 returns to the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríquez.

After over twenty years away from Mexico, Formula One returns to Central America for Round 17 of the 2015 Formula One season. Last time out, Lewis Hamilton may have clinched the 2015 Drivers Championship and become a three-time world champion but pride is still to play for elsewhere on the grid. This weekends race will also be a home-coming for F1’s Mexican driver, Sergio Perez.

The last time Formula One rolled out of the pits in Mexico was at the 1992 Mexico GP where Britons Nigel Mansell claimed pole position and the win around the old circuit layout. Now 23-years on, Formula One returns to the circuit it left with a new British driver leading the pack following his victory at the United States Grand Prix to become the first ever British driver to retain the title.

But while Hamilton celebrates in victory, Sergio Perez is preparing for his first Grand Prix on home soil. This weekend is also expected to bring an announcement from the Haas F1 team confirming Esteban Gutiérrez will be back on the grid and bringing another Mexican driver back with it.

Sergio Perez - US GP 2015 - Copyright Joe McGowan

For the Gran Premio De México, Formula One will be returning to the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríquez, except they will be using a modified version of the old track. The circuit’s re-design has also brought with it a full resurfacing after the old, bumpy track surface was one of the reasons Formula One left the circuit in the first place.

For the revived race, was part funded by the Mexican government along with private money. Some of which was provided by Carlos Slim Domit, considered to be the richest man in the world by Forbes in 2013. August 2013 was also the month in which reports began to surface of the Mexican Grand Prix being included in the 2014 F1 calendar before a postponement to 2015 due to a lack of funding.

Now the race is firmly back and at a circuit which will feature two long DRS straights in the first sector before leading into a tight and twisty second sector. Compared to the old design, the tracks layout in this part is the more similar area with the angles and length of the corners being the difference. Whereas, the final sector of the track features a new stadium section rather than running on the old, banked final corner of Peraltada.

The stadium section gives the spectators a close-to-the-action view of the racing as the cars will bunch up and travel in close proximity through the tight corners before exiting back onto the pit straight or pit entrance.

Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez circuit layout - Copyright formula1.com

As Hamilton has now wrapped up the 2015 Formula One Drivers Championship and his Mercedes team had secured the Constructors Championship back in Russia, both titles have been secured. But while they have locked out the titles for the second year in a row, other teams still have three rounds to boost their Constructors Championship standings in order to secure greater prize money for next year.

The final three races of the season will also be a chance for Rosberg and Vettel to take more Grand Prix victories and create a better mindset for next year.

Lewis Hamilton - US GP 2015 - Copyright Joe McGowan

Based on the track design for the Mexican Grand Prix, the layout would suggest a win would be more easily secured by a driver with a car strong in both a straight line and in the tight technical corners. Prompting another Mercedes win. But a Ferrari win would not be out of the question should the Silver Arrows struggle with their tyres. Speaking of which, Pirelli are providing the yellow (soft) and medium (white) tyres compounds for the race.

In my view, Red Bull would be out of the question for a win in Mexico unless weather provides them with another wet race like in Austin where they had the upper hand in the mixed conditions. As for Williams, the long DRS straights will suit their low-downforce package and with the Mercedes power unit, they could stand a chance of challenging for the win and podium positions.

Midfield teams such as Toro Rosso and McLaren are also more likely to struggle this weekend than teams like Force India and Lotus due to their stronger power units. However Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz and Max Verstappen have proven their ability to race wheel-to-wheel and extract the most from their cars although Carlos has struggled in recent races to see the chequered flag.

Carlos Sainz after crashing out of the 2015 USGP - copyright Joe McGowanLike for the United States Grand Prix, Sky Sports F1 have exclusive UK TV coverage of the live sessions from the Mexican Grand Prix, with BBC covering the race with their usual radio and online coverage supported by highlight programmes on Saturday and Sunday. The full Mexican Grand Prix schedule is as follows:

Thursday October 29
17:00 – Drivers’ Press Conference – Live (Sky Sports F1)
21:30 – Mexican GP Preview (BBC Radio 5 Live)
23:00 – Paddock Uncut (Sky Sports F1)

Friday October 30
15:45 – Mexican GP Practice One – Live (Sky Sports F1)
15:55 – Mexican GP Practice One – Live (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
19:45 – Mexican GP Practice Two – Live (Sky Sports F1)
19:55 – Mexican GP Practice Two – Live (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
22:00 – Team Principals’ Press Conference – Live (Sky Sports F1)
24:00 – The F1 Show – Live (Sky Sports F1)

Saturday October 31
15:45 – Mexican GP Practice Three – Live (Sky Sports F1)
15:55 – Mexican GP Practice Three – Live (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
18:00 – Mexican GP Qualifying – Live (Sky Sports F1)
18:55 – Mexican GP Qualifying – Live (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
22:15 – Mexican GP Qualifying – Highlights (Sky Sports F1)
22:45 – Mexican GP Qualifying – Highlights (BBC Two)
23:25 – Ted’s Qualifying Notebook (Sky Sports F1)

Sunday November 1
17:30 – The 2015 Mexican GP – Track Parade – Live (Sky Sports F1)
18:00 – The 2015 Mexican GP – Pit lane – Live (Sky Sports F1)
18:00 – The 2015 Mexican GP – Race – Live (BBC Radio 5 Live)
18:30 – The 2015 Mexican GP – Race – Live (Sky Sports F1)
21:30 – The 2015 Mexican GP – Paddock Live (Sky Sports F1)
22:30 – The 2015 Mexican GP – Race – Highlights (BBC One)
23:45 – The 2015 Mexican GP – Race – Highlights (Sky Sports F1)

Monday November 2
00:45 – Ted’s Race Notebook (Sky Sports F1)
01:00 & every hour – The 2015 Mexican GP – Race – Highlights (Sky Sports F1)
13:15 – The 2015 Mexican GP – Race – Highlights (BBC Two)
20:00 – The 2015 Mexican GP – Race – Replay (Sky Sports F1)