How the teams reacted to the poor weather in Mexico

How the teams reacted to the poor weather in Mexico

( – Due to the height of the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, the Mexican Grand Prix is ​​always considered a unique race on the Formula 1 calendar. The thin air at 2285 meters above sea level poses a great challenge to aerodynamic performance , cooling and power unit of the car.

Mercedes W13 front wing in Mexico


All this leads the teams to make unusual decisions in the high-speed area. Mercedes tested its wings on Friday. Not only to improve the car’s performance in that area, but also to collect important data for next year’s car.

Comparing the two front wings used during free practice, Lewis Hamilton’s car was fitted with an older version, and the rear edge of the upper wing was significantly reduced (as seen in the photo below).

Mercedes is experimenting with the front and rear wings

George Russell’s W13, on the other hand, was fitted with a new wing, which had a modified design on the outer area of ​​the flaps and a more curved plate to facilitate the transfer of air vortices.

Mercedes W13 front wing

Mercedes W13 front wing zoom

However, the team opted to remove the controversial splitter bars that first appeared at the US Grand Prix but have not yet been used.

Also, Hamilton’s car had license plate markings affixed to the front fascia. A camera recorded the movements of the wing on the track so the team could observe the behavior of the wing.

High deficit despite the fast track

The situation was the same at the back of the car, where both drivers drove with different setups. George Russell ran with Gurney’s goal placed on the trailing edge of the rear wing, while Hamilton, following a reduced approach on the forward wing, ran the wing without hitting the blades.

Photo gallery: Formula 1 technology: detailed images at the 2022 Mexican Grand Prix

After testing with Hamilton on Friday, both drivers opted for newer front wing specifications for qualifying and the race, with a collection of tighter curves and Gurney’s buzzer on the trailing edge of the rear wing’s top flap.

At the same time, both cars are designed for maximum cooling, with both panels around the cockpit and engine cover gills opening to remove the heat generated.

Red Bull opens the rear

Red Bull also opted for more cooling to cope with the air demands of the high altitude. The RB18 is equipped with cooling slots on the shoulder of the engine cover and a new cooling section for the rear, which also extends to the trailing edge for easy extraction.

Comparison of the cooling vents on the Red Bull RB18

Comparison of the cooling vents on the Red Bull RB18 zoom

McLaren also took the cooling issue very seriously in Mexico, with several new options to meet the demands of the track and altitude.

A larger cooling panel goes through the sidepod and engine cover of the MCL36. Two more outlets are located in the center of the engine cover. One above the engine saddle cooling equipment, the other behind the shark fin (red arrows).

Many teams rely on advanced cooling

The team also took the opportunity to add a gurney clamp to the rear edge of the main source of the engine cover to facilitate extraction.

The cooling vents on the McLaren MCL36 in detail

The cooling vents on the McLaren MCL36 in detail zoom

To increase the downforce at the rear of the car, McLaren had also made changes to the rear brake duct aerodynamics and added wings to the existing stack on the rear-facing exhaust pipe.

Alpine also made use of its most advanced cooling setup, as the A522 featured an open, attractive side fairing and extended engine cover last seen but not driven in Hungary.

Cooling vents on the AlphaTauri AT03

Cooling vents on the AlphaTauri AT03 zoom

Alpha Tauri also brought updates to manage temperature issues in Mexico. The front brakes of the AT03 were fitted with an enlarged rear scoop, resulting in increased airflow through the assembly.

The cooling fins on the side of the engine cover have also been modified. The number of slats has been reduced but their space has increased as they still occupy the same space available within the panel.

In the rear part of the car, the body of the engine cover was extended. This not only increased the rear cooling pipe, but also created a larger area for air to flow towards the rear of the car.

Alfa Romeo is working on the rear wing

Alfa Romeo not only tried to fend off a challenge from Aston Martin in the final stages of the season, but also invested in designs that could carry over to the 2023 car.

The large tip of the rear wing used in Mexico, although not new as it has been used in other high-powered races, is a feature that interests us for its effect on cholera results.

Alfa Romeo C42 rear wing

Alfa Romeo C42 rear wing zoom

Compared to the low power mid wing cut (pictured), a clear difference in technique can be seen in the high low power configuration as the wing cuts less (red arrow).

This is the result of the team’s search for the best compromise between downforce generated and drag, while trying to retain as much wing as possible.

The team has also made changes to the front end of the lowers in the last two races to increase the power and performance envelope. These include changes to the lower grille and where it connects to the side of the chassis.