Top Five things to look out for in the F1 Mexican GP | 2021 Mexican GP Preview
Round 18 of the 2021 Formula 1 season is underway as the race weekend opens up ahead of us with the Mexican GP. The Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez track in Mexico City has always provided the viewers with an interesting race as it is located at a height of 2,240m (7,340ft) above sea level, and that does some very interesting things to the car’s performance. Moreover the fans of Mexico have a chance to see a Mexican potentially finish at the top of the podium. Speaking of Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing have a race on their hands to close their gap to Mercedes-AMG F1 and even potentially overtake them in the constructor championship title run. This also would help Max Verstappen keep the lead in the driver’s championship from the reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton. Down the grid, Scuderia Ferrari and McLaren F1 will be battling it out for the third position along with Alpine F1 and Alpha Tauri locking horns for P5 in the constructor’s championship. With all that said, let us now talk about the top five things to look out for in the 2021 Formula 1 Mexican GP.
1. The Championship status
After 17 races into the season, the fight for the title has been more close than ever before in the modern hybrid era. But that’s not all. Wars have broken out throughout the table and each of them are going neck and neck with very few points to differentiate them.
Mercedes-AMG F1 are having to fight really hard for the 2021 title with Red Bull Racing. Mercedes has 460.5 points and are currently in the lead, but this time, they have Honda Red Bull trailing them by just 23 points.
So every race counts for both the teams and this season will not be as easy for Lewis Hamilton to seal the title as he trails from Max Verstappen in the driver’s championship by just 12 points.
Moving down the order, Ferrari and McLaren battle it out for P3 as McLaren leads with 254 points from Ferrari’s 250.5 points. Moreover, Ferrari is claiming to be a strong force to look out for ahead of the Mexican GP as both Ferrari drivers have received the new powertrain upgrade which has proven to be beneficial for the package. So this puts the McLaren team a little to the backfoot, but they are not ones to give up without a fight.
Finally, Alpine and AlphaTauri have come close in the championship for the P5 position as a streak of disappointing performances by both the teams in the last four races have pushed them to a difference of just 10 points.
Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon are performing well but face reliability issues and have also gotten a few DNFs this season which costed them opportunities to score points. In the AlphaTauri garage, up until now Pierre Gasly has been lifting the team’s progress on his shoulders as Yuki has only recently shown signs of stable and reliable performances.
Will the drivers and teams battle it out on the track with their gloves off? Or will they be respectful towards each other all throughout the weekend? We’ll find out soon enough.
2. The Perez v Verstappen show
We all know that the Red Bull car will be the one to beat on this track. The high speed sections, along with the elevation the track is located in, will allow the Honda power unit work harmoniously with the grippy Red Bull chassis.
But this also gives rise to a situation we may see in the race that the pundits and journalists are anticipating. If Perez is ahead of Max during the race and is in a potential position to win it, will Red Bull ask Checo to give up the position in front of his beloved Mexican fans? And what may be the outburst from such an action?
Sure the title fight is still up for grabs and Max needs every possible point to make sure Lewis stays behind, but will the team orders spark up emotions during the race amongst the drivers or the fans?
One thing is clear though, Perez is a team player and perhaps even if a situation like that arises, he is likely to see the bigger picture and help the team out, rather than take his shot at glory.
3. The elevation of the Mexico City track
The Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez track in Mexico City is located at a height of 2,240m (7,340 ft) above sea level and changes a lot of aspects on how the teams set up their cars and how their power units get affected by the elevation.
By simple physics, we understand that the higher we go up from the sea level, up to a certain point, the air gets thinner and thinner and the oxygen level reduces in the air. Now that may not be enough to affect the people living in such elevations, but it does affect the power made by the IC engines in an F1 car.
As the air gets thinner around, the amount of air rushing into the engines for combustion is less and adding the fact of low levels of oxygen, the effects start to compound on the track. Even though Mercedes has won the last Mexican GP back in 2019, it is a known fact that the Mercedes-AMG powertrain does suffer from power loss on this track . This also means that all of Mercedes’s engine customers like Aston Martin, McLaren and Williams will see a dip in power this weekend.
Moreover, as raw horsepower is negated as the deciding factor to win on this track, it helps teams with lower horsepower numbers to take the fight to the leading competitors. Moreover, lighter air also means that generating downforce with the help of airflow will also be a challenge. Therefore, these conditions boil up and present a very interesting race on Sunday.
4. The fight for the fifth position in 2021 Formula 1
The fight for P5 in the constructor championship table has boiled down to a mere 10 point difference between Alpine F1 and Scuderia AlphaTauri. While both teams have failed to perform well in the last four races, the two European teams have closed in on each other and both smell an opportunity.
In the blue corner, French team Alpine has shown steady performances in the season but as the season closes in for the finale, the team has lost the momentum they started with. Both Ocon and Alonso have been driving the wheels off of the Alpine A521 car, but are not able to deliver a competitive race pace.
While in the red corner, the burden of the fight for the position is being held by Pierre Gasly as he has earned 74 points out of the 94 points AlphaTauri has scored so far. He is really hooked to the AT02 chassis powered by Honda and this race will prove to be a crucial one as it may allow the Italian team to close the gap on Alpine.
But at the same time, AlphaTauri’s second driver, Yuki Tsunoda is not performing to his best as he failed to score points in eleven races so far into the season. This hampers AlphaTauri’s attempt to overtake the French manufacturers in the table as Tsunoda is not reliable enough to take on the charge.
5. The uncertainity of Antonio Giovinazzi
Antonio Giovinazzi is the last driver on the grid of the 2021 Formula 1 grid who is yet to have his future decided for the upcoming season. Alfa Romeo Racing have not pushed a contract towards the Italian driver as his performance in the season has not been a good one.
With only one point scored in the current season, Giovinazzi is on the back foot and is hanging by a thread in the Italian team. Moreover, Alfa’s boss Frédéric Vasseur has been rumoured to be interested in giving F2 star Guanyu Zhou a chance to get behind the wheel of the Ferrari powered Alfa.
This has added pressure on Giovinazzi and now he has to perform well in every race from here onwards till Vasseur lays out the final contract on the table. So do you think Giovinazzi deserves a seat in the 2022 F1 grid alongside Valtteri Bottas or do they approach the rule overhauled 2022 season with completely new drivers? We’ll find out soon enough.
With all that said, we now look forward to the Mexican GP weekend and see how it unfolds. The qualifying round will start on November 7 at 01:30am IST and the race will start on November 8 at 12:30am IST. That may be a little difficult for the Asian fans to watch the race, but it will be a race worth all the pain. You can watch it on either Hotstar or Star Sports Select HD. For more information, analysis and updates from the motorsport world, stay tuned to evo India!