Force India team and drivers preview the Mexican Grand Prix, Round 18 of the 2017 Formula 1 World Championship, at Circuit Hermanos Rodriguez.
Vijay Mallya: “Our season continues to go from strength to strength with another double points finish in the United States last week. We’ve had the fourth quickest car for the last three events and picked up significant points with both cars. It means we’ve edged even closer to securing fourth place in the championship with an opportunity to mathematically secure this result in Mexico this week.
“The Mexican Grand Prix is always a hugely important weekend for everybody in the team, but especially for Sergio. We receive huge support from the fans and with so many guests and partners joining us at the track we have extra motivation of put on a strong show. We have more updates coming for the VJM10 as we continue to push hard with development late into the season, which should give us an extra performance step this weekend.”
Sergio Perez: “Racing at home means a lot for me. It’s always a busy week, both for me and the team, but being at home makes all the hard work we put in for our fans and our partners worthwhile. It’s definitely the most enjoyable weekend of the year for me. It’s a great race for everyone involved in Formula One. There’s so much passion and the whole week is a big celebration. Everyone in Mexico City is looking forward to the race.
“The track is quite fun to drive and being on those long straights is special. Because of the altitude, even though you’re running high wings, you still achieve very high speeds and it’s really hard to stop the car under braking – in that sense it feels like a bit like Monza.
“I am lucky I get to race in my country in front of my fans. Their support means so much to me and it’s inspiring to see fans waving the Mexican flag in every grandstand. I really want to give them a special result to celebrate.”
Esteban Ocon: “Racing in Mexico is good fun. I am expecting the atmosphere to be fantastic: I had a taste of it last year and the final sector, going through the stadium, is impressive. Motorsport and Formula One are very important for the Mexican fans and to hear them cheering every lap feels very special.
“The track is great. You can find a very good rhythm and you can overtake. The stadium section is very slow and it bunches up the cars just before the very long straight. There are some special corners as well and it’s just a cool track. Turns one and four are good opportunities for overtaking so I am expecting some action through that part of the lap.
“I have a Mexican teammate so this is a special race for the team. Sergio is very popular in Mexico, but I hope there will be a very warm welcome for me as well – similar to what I had last year. Sergio and I had a few difficulties earlier in the year, but we’re good now and there’s a lot of respect between us. We work together for the team to get the best performance possible and I hope all fans will respect that.”
Sahara Force India’s Chief Race Engineer, Tom McCullough, looks ahead to the challenge of the Mexican Grand Prix: “The characteristics of the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez are dominated by the high altitude of the track, at 2250m above sea level. At 780mbar, the air density is very low, resulting in reduced downforce, drag and cooling capacity. It’s a standout challenge for the engine and brake system cooling, especially since it is a high brake energy track. Low-speed corners dominate the layout, so it is crucial to develop a set-up that gives you performance in those sections. At the same time, you need to make the most of the very long straight which provides a very good opportunity for overtaking.”
All-Mexican line-up for FP1
Sahara Force India test driver, Alfonso Celis Jr., will take part in the first practice session for the Mexican Grand Prix at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez on Friday, 27 October.
His participation in the session, taking over Esteban Ocon’s car, will ensure an all-Mexican line-up for the team as both Alfonso and Sergio Perez will savour the warm welcome of the Mexico City fans.