THE MEXICAN GP
THE MAIN EVENT
The third age of the Mexican Grand Prix arrived in 2015, with a cut-down and de-fanged circuit. Gone was the fearsome banked Peraltada, sacrificed on an altar of safety, and what remains is a little… vanilla. Fortunately, the Mexican GP makes up for that with a terrific atmosphere – especially in the Foro Sol stadium section, where the noise generated by the enthusiastic crowd is truly staggering.
It’s surprising anyone has the energy to make so much noise in the thin Mexico City air. The Autódromo is 2,200m above sea-level, which, with a normally aspirated engine would mean 22 per cent less power. But with the modern hybrids, it simply means working the turbo harder. Less air does, however, mean less drag and the highest speeds of the year without the use of Monza-spec skinny wings. That leads to some frantic braking at the end of the straight, which means things can get spicy towards the end of the race since less air also means less cooling…
CLASSIC RACE: 1964
Last year’s race had an interesting mix of accident, incident, championship manoeuvrings and ill-judged profanity, but, like its predecessor, never really ignited as a contest at the very front. For real drama, we need to go back to the 1964 title decider in which drivers from three teams went into the race with a chance of glory.
Jim Clark had started on pole and led all the way, but on lap 64 of 65 his engine seized, dashing his title hopes. Now Graham Hill was limping towards the title, but on the final lap the Ferrari pitwall managed to convey a message to Lorenzo Bandini that he should slow down to let John Surtees past. Bandini understood, his team-mate swept by and took the title, while Dan Gurney won the race.