The track is located in Mexico City itself, which means racing at 2,300 metres altitude. In F1 this is as rare an occurence as the air that we breath here. In fact, at this height, the rarified atmosphere brings positives and negatives. It means one can run the cars with high levels of downforce while still maintaining good top speed, but on the other hand, the power unit will be in for a hard time, especially down the straights and in the other quick sections, where the turbo has to work miracles to compress as much air as possible in order to reach the correct intake pressure.
Although top speeds are very similar to those at Monza, the level of aerodynamic downforce needed to tackle the Mexican Grand Prix is high, to generate enough grip to stick the car to the road as it tackles the many slow corners at this venue, while preventing excessive sliding from the tyres on a surface which is pretty abrasive. On the topic of tyres, Pirelli has opted to bring the same trio of compounds as used last weekend in Austin, namely Soft, Supersoft and Ultrasoft.
Engineers will have to pay particular attention to the brakes and gearbox: both these elements will be under stress, with the brake pedal pushed to the floor for 21.3 seconds per laps, right on the limit in three braking areas. This is definitely the hardest track for the transmission with no less than 5,538 gear changes required to complete the race distance, the highest number of the season!