Technical Analysis - Mexico

Nicolas Carpentiers’ latest technical review includes the solutions devised by Formula One teams to cope with the thinner air and high altitude of the Mexico GP venue.



In order to cope with the unusual conditions encountered at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Formula One teams devoted particular attention to the cooling of their cars.

The air is thinner at 2285m above sea level, which means a bigger amount of it is needed to cool down the carbon brake disks, both at the front and the rear. Engineers thus increased the size of the ducts, but the rear brake issue that stopped Max Verstappen’s progress in FP1 served as a reminder that teams are always on the edge and pushing to the limit on every front.

A higher altitude also means less drag and downforce and ensuring optimum brake cooling is all the more crucial with F1 cars reaching very high speeds at the end of the main straight.

To that end, Toro Rosso added an opening to its brake duct, while the Williams setup gained an inlet on the outer surface of the duct. Ferrari, for its part, added louvres to the SF16-H’s brake drums (the carbon cases that house the brake systems).