Feb 15, 2019
Formula E visits Mexico City for the fourth time, as the series returns for Race 4 this weekend. Following a thriller in Santiago, everything’s all still to play for in the championship race. Here’s our preview of the track, the championship and Mexico’s energy landscape.
2019 CBMM Niobium Mexico City E-Prix
Track Name = Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez
Track length = 2.09 km
Number of turns = 18
Located in the heart of Mexico City, the recently re-built Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez will play host to the Mexican E-Prix for the fourth time this weekend. Having been out of action for much of the ‘90s, it has a long history with motor racing and has been host to 20 Grands Prix. Stretching as far back as 1963, it returned to the F1 calendar in 2015 and made an inaugural appearance in Formula E the following year.
This weekend will use the modified, oval version of the circuit which will allow us to see the best of both the drivers and the high-energy local fan base. It is a relatively short track compared to the rest of the season but with more turns squeezed in, calling on the drivers for a technically accurate performance. The track starts with a vulnerable sharp right hander, which exits into a long bending Turn 2 where we’d expect to see high-speed, aggressive overtakes throughout the race. Turns 3, 4 and 5 break up the drivers’ speed, who are then led into an iconic stadium complex where you can expect to see packed stands and the cars immersed amongst the crowd. The track loops in and out of this cul-de-sac before weaving out and around the stadium back to the home straight.
Green Scout Report
Mexico City is one of the world’s biggest - with a population of 20 million. Sitting in the high altitude “Valle de México” – the city’s five million vehicles have caused severe pollution1 in recent years. Off the back of a four day air quality alert in 2016, the city enforced driving bans on its citizens which was increased in severity later! However, the city still has much catching up to do. The first 100% electric vehicle was only launched there in 20142!
Mexico, as with many of the countries we have covered, has also recently passed laws committing to the uptake of renewable energy amongst its national grid; 35% of its electricity must be renewable by 20243, which was 22% in 20134.
Much like Chile, most of this renewable electricity is hydroelectric (19%), closely followed by wind power at 2.5% and solar power sat at just 0.1%4. The last statistic is particularly surprising given that solar has a huge amount of potential in Mexico - in fact, it has the third largest solar potential of any country in the world - but the deployment of solar energy has not accelerated to meet this. Given the country has a relatively low energy usage per capita (less than half of us in the UK), a 25km square of solar panels (just 0.06% of the countries land) in the Sonoran Desert would be sufficient to supply all of Mexico’s electricity5! However, the installed capacity of solar in Mexico is expected to increase to 13% in 20196, which is progress. This includes investment in projects such as the Villanueva Solar PV park which will generate enough energy to power 1.3 million households7!
If you’ve been reading these regularly, you might be starting to see a theme here! The renewable revolution is in full force around the world.
Three things to look out for:
1. The Teams’ Championship has started to take form
Going into Chile, the team championship was neck-and-neck with four teams within 11 points of each other. Now we are starting to see the consistency of the Envision Virgin Racing team breakthrough as 12 points separates them from Mahindra Racing, who lead the DS Techeetah Team by the same amount. Though anything can happen in a Formula E race day so don't place any bets just yet!
2. Can Bird fly away with it?
Having raced in the series since the very beginning, Sam Bird is yet to turn his experience into a championship victory. Yet two strong, consistent performances have seen him jump to the top of the championship. Bouncing off the back of victory in Santiago, he’ll be looking to draw on his previous experiences to stay out of trouble but remain competitive to fight for a podium position at the very least, if not a win!
3. More ex-Formula 1 talent joins the grid in Nasr
The American GEOX Dragon team have been struggling so far this season and currently sit last in the championship with two points. Their frustrations seem to have bubbled over, so this weekend sees another ex-Formula 1 driver, Felipe Nasr, replace the young Maximilian Gunther for the rest of the season. The GEOX team will be hoping for strong performances from the Brazilian to boost morale amongst the team and its fans!
We’ll of course be cheering on our very own Alexander Sims, who had this to say ahead of the weekend’s race:
“The Mexico E-Prix is set to be a great event – I’ve heard a lot about the Mexican fans and their enthusiasm for racing, so it will be fantastic to see this in person,” said the BMW i Andretti Motorsport driver. “We put in a decent performance in Chile and our pace was good, so I’m hopeful of again showing our competitiveness on track. The team is doing a brilliant job and I’m confident that the car will be on good form yet again.”
How do I watch?
The action-packed 45 min race starts at 9pm (UK time) on Saturday 16th January. It’s available to watch on BBC (race only via the red button or online) and YouTube (screening extended build-up before each race).
Our partnership with Alexander Sims
To find out more about what we're doing with Alexander Sims, visit our dedicated page.
6 https://www.forbes.com.mx/energia-solar-fotovoltaica/7 https://www.bnamericas.com/project-profile/en/parque-solar-fotovoltaico-villanueva-parque-solar-fotovoltaico-villanueva