Scuderia Ferrari German driver Sebastian Vettel is optimistic that the Italian side can provide more of a threat to Red Bull Racing at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez compared to previous seasons. Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing have been victorious in the previous two seasons at the Mexican Grand Prix, but Scudera Ferrari are hoping to take their first win since the event returned to the calendar in 2015.
After a below par start to the season, Ferrari have had an upturn in fortunes since the summer break and have particularly enjoyed increased competitiveness in qualifying trim.
Ferrari are likely to be able to profit from the higher power unit demands in Mexico, with Vettel – who took pole position back in 2017 – suggesting that this year’s race could be a closer contest.
“Obviously racing at altitude has an impact on how the car feels. We are racing with maximum downforce level in terms of car setup, but, since we are racing so high above sea level, the air is very thin and the cars actually produce very little downforce,” said Sebastian.
“On the long straight, I think we see the fastest top speeds of the season, which makes it difficult to manage the corners, because we’ve got so little downforce physically on the car. The car is moving around a lot and it’s difficult to get the tyres to work, in fact it’s hard to get the whole car to work and to get the right feel from it. It’s a relatively short lap but not an easy one.
“Over the past couple of years, we have been on an upward trend in Mexico, although Red Bull has been the team to beat. But I think the gaps between us are getting smaller, so let’s see how we get on this year.”
Scuderia Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto gave a more direct assessment of their chances, believing that a Mexican Grand Prix victory is well within the team’s reach.
“After two races in which we could have done better, we arrive in Mexico determined to win. We will be aiming for our sixth consecutive pole, before looking to convert that into a victory,” said Binotto.
“The Mexican track has plenty of elements that can catch you out, some of these linked to the fact we are racing at over 2000 metres above sea level. That makes fine tuning the settings on both the chassis and Power Unit side particularly complex, as the requirements are very specific to this track.”