Subtle revisions to the layout of the Mexico City E-Prix circuit, combined with critical tire management strategies, could play a crucial role in the third round of this year’s Formula E World Championship on Saturday.
The Race has learned that the series’ track review committee, which includes Formula E and FIA officials in addition to driver delegates Lucas di Grassi, Oliver Rowland and Jean-Eric Vergne, has requested the added cramped entrance curb but-opening Turn 1 right after long pit straight.
This, in addition to a reconfiguration of the Techpro barriers, may see a slightly different approach to the crucial turn, which in itself leads to a long drag to the series of 3/4/5 “dog-leg” turns, which were designed for the last E-Prix at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in 2020.
Turn 1 has seen various dramas over the past few seasons, including Nyck de Vries’ collision with Robin Frijns and a big shunt for Nico Mueller’s Dragon entry in the circuit’s last race two years ago.
While the interior walls remain the same from a turn-path composition perspective, a curve on the barrier itself slightly changes the visual for drivers approaching the turn.
“It was a surprise because when I saw it I thought it was a different corner and it looked tighter to me, but then I was told it was the same,” said di Grassi.
“Based on our measurements, they are very similar to the last time we were here.”
Further changes were made to the temporary circuit infrastructure within the grounds of the Mexican Grand Prix venue, with the Turn 3 Tarmac being replaced with concrete. The Turn 9 Tech-Pro barriers were reconfigured after Daniel Abt’s accident in 2020 and the entire stadium section was repaved with concrete in many areas.
Turn 3 was the scene of race-ending crashes for Stoffel Vandoorne and Sam Bird in the last Mexico City E-Prix when the track began to break up in parts of the circuit, while Abt’s shunt causing the hospital was caused by brake failure.
Tire management is expected to be one of the main talking points of the race as Michelin has imposed a minimum pressure limit of 1.20 bar for the meeting.
This is down from the 1.40 mark set for the last Mexico City E-Prix in February 2020, but with the increased power level of 250kW in qualifying and racing in attack mode, it is believed that the left rear tire degradation management will be substantial for an entire race.
The teams are modeling a range of pressures, but the 1.20 bar guideline should be one of the crucial features of the race, even if it is much reduced compared to the last race in 2020.
“Even with the reduced pressure, which will help, the left-back will still suffer,” Porsche’s new motorsport director Florian Modlinger told The Race.
“Clearly you will have to manage your tires in the race and have maximum grip at the left rear and also for qualifying.
“I think if you approach qualifying two too aggressively and slip too much in sector one or two, you might have a problem with the left-back in sector three as well.
“But on the other hand, the right forward isn’t used much here and then you come into the stadium, you need the right forward in the tricky left-hand corners.
“If it’s not there, it’s too cold and you don’t have a grip, you’ll be wasting time.”
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