Why F1’s overtaking-friendly aerodynamic modifications had been much less efficient in Mexico · RaceFans

The overhaul of Components 1’s technical laws for 2022 was alleged to make it simpler for drivers to race shut collectively by altering the aerodynamic profiles of the automobiles.

By decreasing the quantity of ‘soiled air’ created by the displacement of a shifting automobile, it might develop into simpler for automobiles to remain within the wake of others and try overtakes. At a number of venues this season that has proved to be the case.

However the high-altitude Mexico Metropolis observe was an exception to the rule. Final weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix was one other processional affair with the highest six positions on the finish of lap one being the identical as on the end.

Some drivers predicted this might be the case primarily based on what they found in follow. There may be much less soiled air when the air is thinner at the next altitude, however which means the slipstream impact is significantly weaker than at sea stage. It additionally means there’s much less cool air which is crucial for automobiles to journey by means of to manage the temperatures of inner parts.

Excessive temperatures and excessive altitude inhibit passing in Mexico

Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas mentioned when he was pressuring Alpine’s Fernando Alonso for place he “needed to begin saving the brakes” as soon as he was “actually near him.” Bottas solely spent eight laps inside a second of Alonso earlier than having to again off to chill his automobile down. He spent the subsequent 27 laps wanting on the Alpine’s rear wing.

Bottas’s workforce mate Zhou Guanyu had his first expertise of the observe and has shocked how little grip there was. “The observe is so slippery. The floor, you might be sliding lots. For me to attempt to have that confidence in qualifying and in addition the race was difficult.”

Throughout Zhou’s second stint he ended up caught in a prepare of automobiles the place, like Bottas, he may solely spend so lengthy operating shut behind these forward earlier than decreasing his tempo to handle temperatures.

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The slippery floor and lack of grip additionally his unhelpful implications for race methods. “This circuit is kind of a low tyre degradation circuit, very clean floor, very low load, not a number of high-speed content material,” defined Aston Martin’s efficiency director Tom McCullough. “So traditionally has been very low degradation.

Tyre technique variations led to some passes

“Graining is all the time somewhat little bit of a subject with this 12 months’s tyres, particularly with the very low grip. We noticed entrance graining on Friday for most individuals, however usually it clears up throughout the weekend.”

Certain sufficient drivers who ran on Pirelli’s comfortable tyre early within the race realised they may extend their stints. The observe floor proved variety to the rubber however tyre administration nonetheless remained a priority when operating in visitors as a result of lack of cool air reaching different elements of the automobile. With out a steep degradation curve, there’s a smaller distinction in tempo between drivers on new and outdated tyres.

“It’s a thermal race, and soiled air is horrible round right here as a result of the brakes get sizzling, that makes the tyres sizzling,” Williams’ Alexander Albon defined.

“Downforce is clearly off as nicely, and you really want clear air to take care of the tyres. However everybody’s managing a lot that you just really find yourself in this sort of processional race the place everybody was simply driving round managing tyres.”

Albon was considered one of few drivers to make some progress within the race, climbing from seventeenth on the grid to complete twelfth.

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“We did nicely to seek out the gaps of unpolluted air in our technique. And truly, actually what modified our race was with the ability to get previous Sebastian [Vettel] as a result of I believe that enabled us to get the clear air on the tyres and maintain pushing forwards.”

Parc ferme, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2022
Gallery: 2022 Mexican Grand Prix in photos

Though there have been overtakes and shut battles involving drivers making their manner up the order from in direction of the rear of the grid throughout the grand prix, among the many prime six there have been solely 4 laps after the opening one the place drivers ran inside DRS vary of one another.

The primary three had been instantly after Sergio Perez’s pit cease, through which the Pink Bull driver got here out behind Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and shortly handed him. The opposite was within the second half of the race when Leclerc’s workforce mate Carlos Sainz Jnr reached Alonso who had extended his first stint.

Alpine pitted him on the subsequent lap, and like many he spent the remainder of the race additionally having to handle energy unit temperatures. That stopped drivers from occurring the assault, and in Alonso’s case a cylinder failure finally ended his race early.

The traits of F1 automobiles might have modified, however the traits of the circuit haven’t. Drivers will face the identical issues every year, until maybe F1 follows Components E in racing there throughout the colder interval at first of the 12 months. Barring that, as McLaren’s Lando Norris noticed, the dearth of grip is “simply what it’s important to take care of” in Mexico.

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