F1 Racing (UK) - - RACE DEBRIEF -


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…


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.

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