After a thrilling edition in the United States, the final double-header of the season reaches its conclusion this weekend, with Mexico's Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez welcoming the teams and drivers - and here's how they are feeling ahead of this year’s Mexican Grand Prix...
“There’s a great atmosphere in Mexico. It’s probably one of the best of the year. The driver parade, going through the stadium, is special. During the race you don’t see it, but after the chequered flag, it’s great to see it. The podium being there makes for a great image. It looks awesome from the outside.
“I like the first three corners. They’re pretty good.”
“Last year’s Mexican Grand Prix was great for us. We didn’t qualify very well, but we made our way back in the race to eighth. We were able to capitalise on other people’s mistakes. It got us into a great position, and then I fought that position hard until the end of the race to bring home some good points on a weekend that didn’t look like we were going to score points.
“The altitude affects mainly the aero. These engines are turbo engines, and we’re also very dependent on electric energy, so the percentage that we lose is less than it used to be. We lose downforce from the thin air, we then lose drag as well, and we also lose cooling. We have to open the car more to get that cooling, both on the brakes and the engine and the oil, on everything. That then compromises the efficiency of the car. It’s the same for everyone. We’re all dealing with it."
Guenther Steiner, Team Principal
“Last year in Mexico City, I think it was one of those days in racing where everything just goes right. Kevin did a great job to hold off the world champion, so for sure, it felt like a victory. It was a great result for the team, because if you qualify 18th, you’re not counting on getting points.
“This year we have more downforce than we’ve ever had before. Our plan is to use that. With downforce, you create grip. The aim is to have a good car like all the other places we’ve had this season.”
“Ah Mejico, mucho bueno! The only negative with Mexico is the traffic, everything else about it is awesome. The area where we stay is great, the hotel is beautiful and the atmosphere in the paddock is full of life. There’s just a really good spirit, lots of face paint, lots of dia de los muertos stuff going on and I love that they have Mariachi bands everywhere.
"The circuit is okay and at least it provides overtaking opportunities which means the races are never boring. I love the stadium section, that’s unique and the crowd there is insane. The podium looks awesome, so hopefully I can taste a bit of that this year. If you like tequila and tacos – I mean, do you boys like Mexico? Wohoo!”
“I’m looking forward to getting back to Mexico as the circuit tends to suit our car better than others. Last year I came away with a win which felt amazing. I put in a good move at the start and therefore managed to keep out front for the remainder of the race. The atmosphere inside the stadium section is always good when you are out on track, but last year being on the podium it was next level.
"It turns into a party atmosphere pretty much as soon as the race is finished, I’m hoping to be back up there this year. As it is such a busy weekend on the calendar I haven’t had the chance to see much of Mexico city in the past, this year I can hopefully get out, see some sights and taste some local dishes.”
"The Mexican Grand Prix is probably one of my favourite tracks of the year. I love the city; the food is great, and the atmosphere is awesome. I had a great result in Mexico last year, finishing sixth which meant I was tenth in the drivers’ championship. It is a fun weekend, with a special vibe to the whole place, and last year I was fortunate enough to celebrate my 19th birthday on race day.
"In the stadium section you can’t hear the crowd, but you can feel the ground shake beneath you as the fans are so enthusiastic. Mexico is particularly challenging due to the high altitude and the car is very nervous, but these challenges are the same for everyone."
"Mexico is a track which reminds me of Sochi. Due to the high location up in the mountains, the track produces a lot less drag and downforce, which causes the cars to behave quite differently. There is a big effect on the tyres, due to the long straight with low drag and one of the highest stopping speeds of the season. It is a challenging track for both the drivers and for the teams."
Paddy Lowe, Chief Technical Officer
"The Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez is another challenge for both teams and drivers given the high altitude of Mexico City. This predominantly tests the power unit, but also affects the cooling systems, as well as the drivers and pit crew. The thin air means less oxygen so it’s physically more challenging for everyone on the ground.
"The layout also has some unique features with the spectacular stadium at turns 13 and 14 which comes alive when full of fans on race day. For the second time in a row, the teams have another back-to-back to handle heading into the busy final stint of the season."
Toto Wolff, Team Principal
"Our next stop brings us to Mexico City where we will face a very different challenge. The Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez is an outlier given its high altitude and the demands this puts on the cars and power units. It has been one of the weaker tracks for us in previous years and we expect a hard fight with Ferrari and Red Bull.
"The weather forecast predicts conditions similar to those we had in Austin which might throw everyone another curveball by limiting dry running. We know that it is not going to be an easy race, but everyone in the team is focused, motivated and determined to keep the pressure on until the chequered flag in Abu Dhabi."
“I’m looking forward to being in Mexico in a few days. Fans always welcome us in such a warm and enthusiastic way, and once again we’ll be visiting around the ‘day of the dead’ time, when the whole city seems to be celebrating.
“The atmosphere at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez is also unique, especially in the Stadium section, where the view is overwhelming and you get so close to the fans that you can even hear them roaring when you drive through.
“I want to put the disappointing race in Austin behind me as quickly as possible, so I can’t wait to be in the car again in three days.”
“The track in Mexico is very special because of the altitude. We all run maximum downforce, but because of the altitude it actually makes it lower than Monza. That makes the cars very tricky to drive. We will also return to the Hypersoft tyre this year, so it’ll be interesting to see how that behaves.
“The Stadium section is amazing – I remember the fans last year were going crazy there. It was a packed race and they were cheering for everyone as they drove through, which made for a great atmosphere.
“Mexico City is a cool place. Everyone is really friendly and the food is great too. I’m looking forward to a fun weekend and hopefully some positive results on track.”
Gil de Ferran, Sporting Director
“From one great Grand Prix venue to another, we go to Mexico on the back of a busy week in Austin. Back-to-back races are never easy, particularly for the crew when we have to repair a lot of damage.
“The Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez is somewhat unique in many ways, not least because of the high altitude and one of the longest straights on the calendar, which present several challenges for the engineers both on the engine side and the chassis. In the past, this layout has provided exciting races with lots of overtaking, and I expect this year’s Mexican Grand Prix to be no different.
“Lando will once again be in the car in FP1 on Friday morning, and will gain valuable experience of another new track.
“We go into the weekend with the same mindset as ever, undeterred by our most recent results and with a sharp focus on maximising our potential, which is all can influence.”
“Racing in Mexico is the highlight of the season for me. The excitement each time we go back there is the same. When I see the busy grandstands, I feel very proud and the support from the people is fantastic. The energy of the crowd really motivates me and the drivers’ parade is always a very emotional moment.
“It’s an extremely busy weekend for everybody: me, my team, the sponsors, but it’s still the best week of the entire season. To have my family and friends around me helps make this race even more special. I really want to give everybody a strong result to celebrate on Sunday.
“The circuit is a big challenge. Because of the altitude, the track is slippery with low grip levels and it’s very easy to make a mistake or lose time. The long straight is usually your best chance for overtaking, but with these cars it’s never easy to pass.”
“The Mexico weekend is good fun. It’s a busy race for the team, of course, and we have quite a few events with partners during the week, so we get to see a bit of the city as well. It’s Checo’s home race so the whole team is busy from the moment we land!
“The atmosphere when you get to the track is special. Mexicans love sport and the passion they show for Formula One is incredible. The best part is to drive in the stadium section when the grandstands are full. I think all the drivers enjoy the buzz and emotions you get from such a massive crowd.
“It’s a good track to drive, but it’s a tough one. You’re at very high altitude and this really affects the set-up – it’s difficult to find a good balance. The cars are set up with high-downforce, but it feels like low downforce. You lack grip and the car feels very slippery, especially at the start of the weekend, but you soon get used to it.”
“The race in Mexico is an exciting one. The fans are amazing and always add to the magical track. The circuit is interesting and the cars feel very low in grip due to the high altitude, which is a unique challenge. It has been a while since I last scored points, so that will be my target and I will work hard to have a strong performance there this weekend.”
“The Mexican GP is a very interesting race, as it is different to what we are used to. We are located at quite a high altitude, so it is demanding to drive there – both for the cars as well as physically for us drivers. I look forward to it, and hopefully we can recover from the bad luck we have had in the last two races. We have a few more chances to score points this season and will push to bring home good results."