Stoffel Vandoorne will race at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez for the first time this weekend, but having experienced the circuit and Mexico City in 2016 as the reserve driver for the McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team, he is excited to return there in 2017.
The Belgian remembers fondly the atmosphere around the Mexican track, with the passionate fans making it an enjoyable experience for everyone, particularly in the stadium section, and he cannot wait to get out on track and experience it from behind the wheel of his MCL32 on Friday.
“I last went to Mexico City two years ago and loved the whole experience,” admitted Vandoorne. “We stay downtown and the city is really cool.
“I remember the awesome atmosphere around the whole track and I’m looking forward to going back there. The fans are amazing and the coolest part of the circuit is the stadium because there are so just many people there.
“I’ve been preparing to race on this circuit for a while with my engineers in the simulator, and I’m excited to get out on track there for the first time on Friday.”
The race weekend itself is likely to be a tricky one for both Vandoorne and McLaren, with the long straight and high altitude likely to mean a less than competitive outing, although he is hoping to avoid further grid penalties for more engine changes, having taken a big hit in that department last weekend at the Circuit of The Americas.
“For McLaren Honda, Mexico will likely be a very tricky race for us because of the long straight and the high altitude, two characteristics which will make things more difficult for us all weekend,” said Vandoorne.
“As I had to change my PU on race day in Austin, we’re hoping that we won’t have to take penalties on my car in Mexico, but at the moment we’re looking into everything and will wait until Friday to confirm if anything is necessary.”
Of course, Vandoorne, as well as the other drivers on the grid, is sending his best wishes this weekend to those affected by the recent earthquake in Mexico.
“We head to Mexico City very aware of the current situation there and we send all of our support and best wishes to the people of Mexico after such a terrible disaster,” said Vandoorne.