On the Way to Mexican GP 2019: Technical preview

This weekend Lewis Hamilton can conquer the 6th title which would mean only 1 away from the record of 7 established by Michael Schumacher. Differently from what done in other GPs, we talk also about news and rumours regarding 2020-2021.

Organization for a Miami GP in 2021 are going on, with steps forward in the deal between Formula One (Liberty Media) and the local authorities. The track may surround the Hard Rock Stadium in the homeland of Dolphins football.

Moreover, Toro Rosso will change its name in 2020: the new name Alpha Tauri has been approved by the commission. The name is related to the new fashion brand launched by Red Bull.

 Technical Setup & Tyres

The principal difference with the other tracks is determined by the altitude of the Mexico City. The physical morphology has an impact on both air temperature and density. In particular the second parameter, for the change it introduces, affects the aerodynamical setting of the car. At the height of 2200 m over the sea level the density value is reduced by 20%. This means that with the same aerodynamical coefficients (Cx and Cz) the aerodynamical forces (drag and downforce) fall by the same amount and so 20%. In order to compesate the aerodynamic downforce a softer set of springs should be chosen. On the aerodynamic side, higher angles of attack and more rake are necessary to regain the appropriate value of downforce.

q=dynamic pressure, ρ=density, u=air speed

A decreased value of density is the reason for a reduction of mass flow with the same configuration. This lead to cooling problems: the GP will be interesting for investigating if Mercedes still have troubles of that kind. The solution to this issue that may cause reliability problems is to create wider ducts even accepting a compromise on the aero performances.

Turbo in F1

Compressor-Turbine scheme of a Turbo Engine

The fuel consumption may not be an issue since the estimate amount of fuel should be of nearly 97 kg: from that perspective, a minor drag due to the density effect implies a decreased resistance on straights (leading also to higher top speed).

Differently from what happened with aspirated engines, in the turbo era the rarified air problem can be faced increasing the compression of the turbo (with components rotating at higher rpm). Of course this thing is possible only if the power unit is not at the limit in terms of reliability.

Pirelli has chosen an intermediate set of compound (C2, C3 and C4). Mercedes with Bottas has an extra hard tyre probably to test it during the Free Practises. The Mexican Pit Lane is one of the longer and therefore slower of the Circus: under these circumstances, all the teams are going to opt for a single pit strategy.

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