Williams head of performance engineering Rob Smedley says his team “has to bounce back” during this weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix after experiencing a “difficult” outing at COTA.
The British squad registered its first double DNF of the season last Sunday, with Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa both retiring with damper failures. Their Austin afternoon had already been fairly compromised at the first corner where they had been involved in two separate incidents.
Luckily for the Finn and his Brazilian team-mate, who are currently fifth and sixth in the Drivers’ standings, none of their direct rivals – fourth-placed Kimi Raikkonen and P7 Daniil Kvyat – managed to score either.
“We have to bounce back from a difficult Grand Prix in Austin and we are confident we can do that,” said Smedley. “We have to make sure we take away all the points that are on offer and play to our strengths to maintain the gaps to our rivals in the championships.
“Mexico is an unknown for us all. It has been a while since Formula One has been there but as engineers we are looking forward to the challenge.”
Returning to the F1 calendar after a 23-year absence, the Mexican Grand Prix will see teams and drivers take on the same Autodrómo Hermanos Rodríguez where the sport raced between 1986 and 1992, though the venue has been heavily revised since.
“As a track it looks interesting with high and low speed corners and a very long straight,” said Bottas. “It will be interesting to see how the high altitude has an effect on the cooling of the cars but also its physical effects on me as a driver.
“I was too young to watch the race last time they were in Mexico, but the track has been changed. I hear there will be a lot of fans so I am looking forward to meeting them”
Massa is also looking forward to racing in front of such an enthusiastic and knowledgeable crowd.
“It’s the first time I have ever been to Mexico so I am excited to go there,” commented the 11-time grand prix winner. “The track has a lot of history in Formula One, even though it has changed a little bit. I hear the tickets sold out in less than a week, so there is clearly a passion for motorsport.”
Williams actually won the last two editions of the Mexican Grand Prix, with Riccardo Patrese and Nigel Mansell taking victory at Autodrómo Hermanos Rodríguez in 1991 and 1992 respectively.
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