F1 | Pirelli: 2018 Mexican Grand Prix preview

The hypersoft makes its fifth and penultimate appearance this season in Mexico alongside the ultrasoft and supersoft, giving a rapid twist to a perennially popular venue. The Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez is one of the fastest tracks on which the hypersoft will be used this year, allowing the drivers to make full use of the pink tyre’s record-breaking potential. Based on the much older Formula 1 circuit that was first used in 1962, the latest incarnation of the track still manages to retain an old-school feel.
• With the introduction of the Pink hypersoft to Mexico, the softest nomination is effectively two steps softer than last year, when soft, supersoft and ultrasoft were chosen. All the 2018 compounds are a step softer than their 2017 equivalents – and the hypersoft goes one step softer still.
• The track surface is quite smooth and slippery, reducing tyre wear and degradation.
• The pit lane is one of the longest of the year: this increases the time needed to make a stop and will probably encourage the teams towards a one-stopper.
• A one-stopper was in fact the winning strategy last year (from Red Bull’s Max Verstappen), but there were some two-stoppers, helped by a virtual safety car.• There’s a wide mix of speeds and corners: as well as the two fast straights (where Sebastian Vettel peaked at 362.4kph last year) there’s a slow and twisty stadium section where the famous Peraltada corner used to be.• It’s the highest altitude circuit of the year: this means that the cars generate less downforce in the thin air and have to rely more on mechanical grip from the tyres.

“The nomination we’re bringing to Mexico is effectively the same nomination that we would take to a street circuit, so we expect the teams to keep a close eye on wear and degradation in order to manage their pace so that a one-stopper is possible, given that the total length of the pit lane means that significant time is lost. The weather will be another important factor: in the past we have seen a variety of conditions in Mexico at this time of year. It’s a track that has traditionally produced a few incidents with a safety car probability of more than 60%, so keeping some flexibility in the strategy will be paramount”.

• Pirelli’s final development test of the year will take place on Tuesday after the grand prix, with Sauber completing just one day of slick tyre running.
• Pirelli will mark its 200th grand prix win in Mexico, although the majority of these have been under single-supplier regulations since 2011.
#StartYourEngines | –